This past week on Food52, Amanda and Merrill made a call to action for the Best Autumn Vegetable Puree. Since I had bought a HUGE butternut squash at the farmers’ market, I was inspired to transform it into puree form, even though I never managed to write up my recipe in time for the contest deadline. Regardless, my puree was quite a success, and I had so much of it that I took half to our friend Evan’s birthday potluck as a topping for crostini, and ate the other half for lunch on Monday with a sprinkling of croutons (leftover from the crostini, naturally) and some bacon, sage, and shallots that I had sitting in my fridge.
I often steer clear of straight purees for fear that the end result will resemble baby food. That’s where the white beans come in. The beans really bulk up this recipe and give it a little more body than your average super sweet squash puree. And the toasted bread (whether under or over) adds a perfect crunch to the whole dish.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Butternut Squash & White Bean Puree with Bacon-Sage Croutons
Makes 4 side servings
To use this puree as a delicious topping for crostini, simply skip the croutons, toast the bread slices under the broiler, and top with a dollop of butternut squash and a sprinkle of the crispy bacon and sage.
For the puree:
1 small (1 1/2lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 15oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
½ stick butter, melted
chicken stock (optional)
For the topping:
5 slices maple bacon, chopped
1 cup ciabatta bread, cut into ½-1 inch cubes
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
12-15 sage leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the butternut squash with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss together with the maple syrup and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the squash is tender and caramelized.
Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
On another baking sheet, toss together the ingredients for the topping with a drizzle of olive oil and season lightly with some salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bread is golden brown, the bacon has rendered all its fat, and the sage is dark and crispy.
In the meantime (while the topping roasts), puree the squash and the beans in a food processor or push them through the coarsest attachment of a mouli (I prefer this option for texture reasons). Fold in the melted butter and thin to your desired consistency with stock. If you prefer a thicker puree, this won’t be necessary. Taste for seasoning.
Serve the puree in the middle of a large platter or in individual bowls with a handful of the croutons, crispy bacon, and sage.