Cranberry walnut crostini with ricotta, butternut squash, and balsamic
Say hello to the only appetizer you need for Thanksgiving.
Actually, I take that back. Not just Thanksgiving. You could serve this on a Tuesday! Or a Saturday! You could make this for lunch and be living your best life by noon.
My taste testers (a sample size of roughly 15 people — aka: friends and teachers at my kids’ school whom I throw food at weekly) all agreed: total home run.
Also, it’s pretty to look at!
Cranberry walnut bread, drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and crisped up into little crostini in the oven. A hefty layer of caramelized onions (low and slow, people, low and slow), fresh ricotta — don’t forget to salt! — roasted squash, balsamic, honey, and chives. Dried cranberries don’t hurt, either.
Are you drooling yet?
I’m hosting Friendsgiving this weekend, and I’m embarrassed to say our menu does not yet exist. The expectations are high. I know, I know — I make them that way. We’re all lovers of good food, though, and I want to serve something special. But I was thinking…
…it might be okay to just serve them a bunch of appetizers? Don’t look at me like that, there will be wine too! But do we really need turkey? Serious question.
Imagine a Thanksgiving where appetizers keep appearing, wine flows endlessly, and you’re essentially a cow, grazing on carbs all night long. It sounds glorious, does it not?
So here is to Carbsgiving (which may or may not be happening this weekend, depending on whether I get my act together). I hope you give these a try because they will up your appetizer game from subpar to stellar. And at the holidays it’s go big or go home.
Happy November, friends!
- 1 loaf cranberry walnut bread
- 2 large onions, (thinly sliced)
- 2 cups fresh ricotta
- 1 small butternut squash, (peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- balsamic reduction
- 2 tablespoons chives, (chopped)
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- malden sea salt, (garnish)
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut bread on a diagonal into ¼ inch this slices. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt, about 1 tablespoon total. Bake until crisp, about 8-10 minutes. (*Note: begin checking after 8 minutes so they don’t burn!)
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add two tablespoons olive oil (or butter). When hot, add onions. Cook, stirring often and adjusting temperature as needed so they don’t brown too quickly. When the onions begin to stick to the bottom, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir. Repeat as needed, cooking the onions over medium to medium-low heat for about an hour, until caramelized. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, then set aside to cool.
- Take cooled crostini and spread a about 1-2 tablespoons of caramelized onions on the bottom. Top with a generous portion of ricotta, about 3 tablespoons (this will depend on how large you slice your crostini). Sprinkle with malden sea salt.
- Add a few pieces of roasted squash and a few dried cranberries to each piece. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar (or balsamic reduction, if you have time to reduce it) and honey. Season with a little freshly ground black pepper, top with chives, and serve.