Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

Oh, hello there friends. Might I offer you a slice of savory tart? Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

It’s made with store-bought puff pastry (shock! gasp!), slathered with a rosemary and thyme infused ricotta, then heaped with freshly roasted butternut squash and a tiny drizzle of honey. And it is like a little slice of heaven. Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

Let’s start by talking about puff pastry. That glorious, golden, flaky, ultra-buttery deliciousness that most people assume I don’t have in my freezer because I prefer to make things, well, a little on the healthier side.  Wrong again, friends. Wrong again. In fact, I have three boxes of all-butter puff pastry in my freezer as we speak (type?).

While I love making recipes loaded with whole grains, natural sweeteners, and all-around high quality products, I don’t take issue with ingredients like butter, all-purpose flour, or cane sugar. In fact, I keep them stocked in my kitchen for instances when something would taste better if made with those ingredients. Granted, I’m opting for grass-fed butter, organic unbleached all-purpose flour and organic cane sugar or sucanat, but still: I’m more interested in the quality of the ingredients and the overall flavor of the food I’m making than whether or not a recipe meets someone’s arbitrary definition of what’s healthy.  

So, all this is to say: yes, I think puff pastry is like eating a crunchy cloud of buttery goodness, and no, I don’t have any problem using it in my kitchen from time to time. The store-bought stuff is usually pretty mediocre when it comes to flavor and quality (thanks to an ingredient list that’s full of margarine and/or canola oil and a heavy dose of preservatives), and doesn’t really impress me. Luckily, my old pal Trader Joe’s stocks all-butter puff pastry this time of year, made in France with lots of butter and nothing mysterious, and I gladly keep in in the freezer for quick appetizers for parties, or times when a butternut squash and ricotta tart sounds like the most delicious dinner option out there. Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

Which is prettymuch right now. So, to make this simple tart, here’s what you’re going to do:

First, peel and cut up a butternut squash. Or, heck, buy pre-cut squash at the grocery store if you’re feeling intimidated by this strange-shaped squash. Toss the butternut with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast in the oven for 15 minutes. While the butternut cooks, stir together some ricotta with a little yogurt and plenty of fresh rosemary and thyme. You’ll also need to lay out the puff pastry on a baking sheet so it’s ready to stick in the oven in a few minutes.

When the timer goes off for your butternut squash, give it a stir, put it back in the oven, and pop the puff pastry in the oven to cook as well. Then, once both are finished cooking (say, 10-15 minutes later), slather the room temperature ricotta over the flaky pastry, top it with the golden roasted squash, and drizzle on a teeny bit of honey. Then just cut, and eat. Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

Despite being made from only three simple elements (puff pastry + herby ricotta + roasted butternut), this tart is something special. The flaky, crispy pastry combined with ultra-creamy ricotta and warm, caramelized squash is absolutely dreamy. It tastes like fall from the rosemary, thyme, and butternut squash, but still feels a little light and summery for these still-warm fall days. It’s also just as enjoyable warm as it is room temperature, making it perfect for bringing to a party or packing in a beach bag for an early-fall picnic on the beach. At least, that’s what we’re doing with all the leftovers. Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. It’s quick, easy, and oh so satisfying. If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below or take a picture and share it with me on Instagram

Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart
Serves 4
A simple tart that's perfect for fall entertaining or easy weeknight meals!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into 1" cubes (about 4 cups, diced)
  2. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  5. 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, thawed*
  6. 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  7. 1/4 cup full fat yogurt (Greek or regular yogurt both work fine here)
  8. 2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary (to yield 1 teaspoon of each, chopped)**
  9. 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon honey, to drizzle on top
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust your oven racks so one is slightly above center and one is slightly below center. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set them aside.
  2. 2. Place diced butternut on one of the sheet pans with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Put butternut squash in the oven on the lower rack for 15 minutes.
  3. 3. While the butternut squash roasts, assemble the rest of the ingredients. Unroll the puff pastry and lay it on the second sheet pan. Use the tines of a fork to liberally poke holes all over the puff pastry. This will help air escape while it baked and (hopefully) keep it from puffing up too much.
  4. 4. Remove the rosemary and thyme leaves from their stems, and finely dice them. Add the herbs to a bowl with the ricotta, yogurt, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  5. 5. When the timer goes off for the butternut squash, stir the squash and put in back in the oven, now on the higher rack. Put the pan with the puff pastry in the oven on the lower rack. This will help crisp the bottom of the puff pastry and give it more direct heat. Cook both the squash and the puff pastry for another 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
  6. 6. Remove both the pans from the oven. If the puff pastry has gotten too puffy, use a spatula to gently press it down. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pastry, then top with the butternut squash. Finally, drizzle on the honey, then cut into 8 and serve.
  7. 7. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat leftovers, put slices on a sheet pan in a cold oven, then turn to 350. Warm for 5-8 minutes as the oven preheats, so the pastry and squash are warm again, but the ricotta doesn't dry out. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 5 days.
Notes
  1. *Check the ingredients on your puff pastry to ensure it's actually made with butter isn't loaded with preservatives or vegetable oil. Those puff pastries don't taste very good! I find the best price and flavor in the puff pastry at Trader Joe's!
  2. **If you don't think you'll use up an entire container each of rosemary and thyme, look for a container of herbs labelled 'poultry blend' at the grocery store- it usually has a few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, and sage.
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Butternut Squash & Ricotta Tart

That flaky crust though!!

 

 

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