A couple of months ago, Julie Morelli of Letterform, Inc. graphic design studio sent over an introduction I couldn’t refuse. The founding mission of this column was to great tasting, easy to make, beautifully photographed recipes from designers each Friday. With her Roasted Squash over Arugula with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts salad and her letterpress printed foodie greeting cards, I don’t think there’s a better combination! If you add to it the seasonality of the dish, the holidays in the US, and her great smile and sense of humor, her recipe is a match made in heaven. -Kristina
About Julie: In between running the graphic design business (Letterform, Inc) she owns with her fiance, Andy, and printing her very own line of foodie greeting cards (Nourishing Notes), Julie is consumed by food… or consuming food. She spends any spare time perfecting family recipes, reading through a stack of vintage Gourmet magazines she scored at a flea market, and working on the latest batch of home brewed beer with Andy. Born and raised in Michigan, Julie and Andy are currently residing in Chicago – living a midwest city life with many road trips to the countryside gathering up seasonal produce right from the source.
CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!
“I was lucky enough to be at a Michigan farmers market during the height of squash season; it didn’t take me long to walk away with an embarrassingly large pile. I experimented with a list of recipes (pumpkin waffles, butternut soups, acorn squash risottos) before I finally decided that the best (and easiest) way to celebrate this hearty autumn veggie is to simply roast it. No acorn squash? Try a butternut, amber cup, buttercup, or delicata. No arugula? Try spinach or in the case of my own photos here – a mix of baby greens. Vegan? Just eliminate the goat cheese and you have a lovely vegan entree. Carnivore? Try serving along side a lovely roasted pork tenderloin with apples and fennel… yum! This is a very straightforward dish with few ingredients, so splurge on the best quality.”
My version of roasted squash salad recipe was loosely inspired many years ago by a recipe in Lidia’s Family Table, by Lidia Bastianich
serves 4 to 6 (depends on the appetite!)
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup hazelnuts (walnuts, pine nuts or almonds will also work)
2 acorn squash (1.5 – 2 lbs each)
2 tbsp olive oil (regular old olive oil or any vegetable oil is fine here since we’re roasting with it)
fresh ground black pepper
10 fresh sage leaves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
6 cups arugula (I usually figure one big handful of greens per person)
6 oz. goat cheese
For the Dressing…
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff!)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (you got it, the good stuff!)
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and put them right in the oven while it’s preheating. Give them a shake every once in a while. They should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get nice and toasty. Remove and set aside.
With a paring knife or peeler, peel the squash. No need to drive yourself crazy trying to get it all off! As close as you can get is fine. Carefully split the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Working one half at a time, place the squash cut side down on the cutting board, trim off the ends and cut regular semi-circular slices about 1 inch thick.
Place the squash slices on a baking sheet – you’ll probably need two (I usually put down a sheet of parchment paper for easy clean up). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Toss them around to make sure they are all coated with the oil and seasonings. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet so no one’s touching each other. If everyone’s on top of each other it will promote more steaming rather than browning. Take the ten sage leaves and distribute around the pan. I like to tuck them under the squash slices to ensure they do not burn during cooking. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Give them all a flip and rotation and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until you’ve got some browning and they are very tender. Remove and let cool while you assemble the rest of the salad.
Place your greens in a large serving bowl along with the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Give them a good toss to coat. Place the lovely roasty, toasty squash slices on top of the greens. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle on top, along with the goat cheese. Last but not least, drizzle your oh-so-glorious balsamic vinegar that you splurged on over the top. I like to bring the vinegar to the table and allow people to add more if they wish as I have many a vinegar-loving friend. However, depending how much your spent on the vinegar, this may not be a good idea!
While this salad is best when the squash is still warm from the oven (giving you that wonderful contrast of warm, earthy, sweet squash against the fresh, crsip, peppery arugula) if time is a factor, you can roast the squash ahead of time (no more than a day) and refrigerate it. Just set it out about a half hour before you assemble to bring it back to room temperature. Not as good, but I’ve done it before in a pinch. However, do NOT dress the salad ahead of time, things will turn into a sloppy soupy mess. Try your best to dress the salad and assemble just before devouring.