Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butternut Squash, White Bean and Kale Ragout

The farmers' markets are bursting with squashes and greens right now.  Who am I to resist them?  It's fall, after all, even if our warm temperatures belie the fact.

For sheer fall robustness and mellow flavor, this ragout fills the bill beautifully.  Both dinner guests immediately responded postively when I offered to send some of  it home with them.  And later I added chicken broth to my leftover portion to make soup with a marvelously maple-y and squash-y depth of flavor.  A delicious and versatile dish.
From the New York Times, 11/14/07

1 3-pound sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2-1/2 teaspoons cider vinear
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked white beans)
2 cups vegetable broth

3/4 pound kale, ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Coarse sea salt

In small saucepan, stir together 2 over medium heat 2 tablespoons butter, maple syrup, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and pinch cayenne. Pour into large bowl.

Peel butternut squash, remove seeds, and cut flesh into 1-inch cubes. Toss cubes in maple syrup mixture 'til coated.  Spread squash cubes on a large, rimmed baking sheet.  Roast, turning occasionally, until squash is tender when poked and a bit caramelized at the edges, about 30 minutes.

In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, and add leeks, garlic rosemary and a large pinch of salt.  Cook, sitrring occasionally, until leeks are very soft but not browned, about 15 minutes.  Add beans and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir kale and cheese (if using) into leek mixture, and simmer until kale is cooked down and very tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the roasted squash cubes and cranberries.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Garnish with additional cranberries if desired.

Serves 6 to 8

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