After all the fun of the holiday eating and NYE, I seriously need to incorporate some vegetables into my diet. The last thing I need is some kind of cake or cookie so I stayed away from the dessert section of Back to Basics when searching for inspiration this week. So I started thubming through the salads and sides sections. I noticed that Ina included a butternut squash salad AND a maple roasted butternut squash recipe in the side section. Cue lightbulb going off. I opted to make the butternut squash side dish and use that to put on top of the salad. Both recipes include raosting the squash with maple syrup so they are similar albeit that the side dish recipe includes sage, bacon, and garlic too. Therefore the salad would have more flavor!
So starting with the side dish – OMG so good. I cheated a little bit with this too and got pre-cubed butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. Also, when roasting, I swapped out the pancetta with some bacon. The main difference between the two is that bacon is smoked and pancetta is not. I think the smoky flavor of the bacon complements the maple syrup in the dish, so it totally works for me. Lets get to the good part, the garlic. So you roast some whole, unpeeled garlic cloves along with the squash. I don’t think it really adds too much flavor and I didn’t know why Ina included it. THEN I noticed that once the garlic is roasted, you can unpeel it and smear a clove on bread. I know earlier I was talking about incorporating vegetables into my diet and now I’m talking about bread, but garlic is a vegetable, right?
Once the squash was done, it was time to move over to the salad. It is a very simple salad of arugula with some toasted nuts, butternut squash, and a warm vinaigrette. I swapped out Ina’s recommended walnuts to pecans because I think they would add a lot of flavor and go with the squash really well. For the vinaigrette, I totally blanked and forgot to get some apple juice at the store. However, I had some leftover pomegranate juice so I opted to use that. The difference though between apple juice and pomegranate juice is that apple juice is sweet and pomegranate is not. To balance out the vinaigrette, I used sherry vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar since sherry vinegar is sweet.
The finished product turned out really well. I actually really like the amped up butternut squash with the bacon to top the salad. Then you can have the delicious roasted garlic bread on the side. It would be a great option to make on a Sunday and keep the ingredients on hand to throw together for a weekday lunch or dinner.
This meal paired extremely well with Winc’s Dolcetto. Dolcetto is actually an Italian grape from the Piedmont (northern) region. Winc sourced theirs from California which is grown in limited quantities so this one is kind of rare. Even though the name translates to “little sweet one” in English, it is not sweet at all. It has very robust fruit flavors and some spiciness.
There aren’t a lot of tannins going on so it is perfect to drink right out of the bottle. After doing some research, I found out that the Dolcetto grape is actually a black grape. Because the skin of the grape is so dark, the juice doesn’t need prolonged contact with the skins in order to obtain it’s deep garnet color. Therefore, the winemakers are able to filter out the skins early which in turn reduces the amount of tannins in the wine. The absence of tannins means *typically* there can be an absence of aeration of the wine. If you enjoy a good glass of Merlot, you’ll enjoy some Dolcetto. If you want to go out on the adventure and try some Dolcetto with your next meal, try Winc and get a discount on your first order using this link: https://hi.winc.com/2lhy61q4ll7.
Until next time, eat well and stay thirsty!!!
When making this recipe I recommend the follow equipment: