Monday, February 8, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Warm Cider Vinaigrette

I love composed salads, especially if someone else makes them, and am always looking for new recipes. This one is from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. This salad stands out for its contrasts—creamy butternut squash, peppery arugula, sweet-tart dried cranberries, crunchy toasted pecans, and salty Parmesan cheese. The cold lettuce pairs well with the hot roasted butternut squash and cranberries. (The original calls for all arugula, but I balanced the peppery flavor with some chopped green leaf lettuce.) Next time, some smoky crumbled bacon would be a great addition. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Warm Cider Vinaigrette

1 (1 1/2-lb.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
2 oz. arugula
3 oz. green leaf lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place squash on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and syrup; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss to combine.
2. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Sprinkle cranberries on baking sheet, and bake 5 more minutes.
3. Combine apple juice and next 2 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 6 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat; stir in mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
4. Place lettuce in a bowl; add butternut squash mixture, toasted pecans, and Parmesan cheese. Toss gently with a small amount of the warm vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional vinaigrette.

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