For a few years now, I’ve enjoyed cooking butternut squash for Thanksgiving, whether as a sweet or savory side dish. The first year I tried a squash soup, and I remember buying one enormous squash, so we then ate soup for several days 😛
I learned to buy small unless you are cooking for a crowd. Recently I saw these little butternut squashes at the Ballard Sunday Farmers’ Market, and I could not resist them. When they are small you have the advantage of eating them fresh in variety of ways, instead of saving cut up pieces which wouldn’t stay as fresh.
Butternut squash has a rich, creamy texture and it goes well with many winter spices and dry herbs, from cinnamon or nutmeg, to thyme, oregano, and the like. The particular squash I used in this recipe was so beautiful that I wanted to highlight its own flavor. I had also recently found some cute individual tart pans, and it was supper time! Out came my Mini Butternut Squash Tarts with herbed olive oil crust. You might make a nice big one as a Thanksgiving side.
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
1 tspn salt
some freshly ground black pepper
some crushed dry oregano & thyme
1/4 cup ice cold water (if you think it’s too dry add a bit more, but go spoon by spoon)
1 small roasted and mashed butternut squash
1 big clove garlic, finely chopped
some freshly shaved parmesan (optional)
some toasted pine nuts
1. Cut your washed butternut squash in half and sprinkle salt, pepper and olive oil inside.
2. Let it bake in a baking sheet with the cut side up at 400 F (200 C).
3. For the olive oil crust: put flour, salt, pepper, oregano & thyme in a in a food processor & pulse.
4. Add oil & pulse a few times to get a coarse mix.
5. Add water & pulse till the dough comes together — don’t over mix!
6. Make a ball, flatten, wrap in plasticwrap (make sure it’s airtight) & refrigerate for about half an hour.
7. The butternut squash should be done in half an hour or so. You will smell the sweetness of the squash when it’s done. You can also check with a fork and see if it feels tender inside.
8. Let it cool for a few minutes inside, and then outside the oven.
9. In a saute pan, add some oil on medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two till it softens.
10. Scoop out the seeds carefully first, and then the squash with a sharp edged spoon, and toss it in the pan.
11. Add some thyme, and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes while you mash it down with a potato masher or with your spatula.
12. Turn off the heat and let it sit.
13. Roll out your dough into three small 5″ tart pans or one big “9-10” one.
14. Make holes with a fork in your tart crust.
15. Bake for a about 5-10 minutes until the bottom cooks lightly.
16. Stuff them with your squash, scatter fresh rosemary and freshly toasted pine nuts on the top.
17. Bake for about 30-40 min, until the edges of the crust look done.
18. Serve with some shaved parmesan on the top!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!