This is such a great appetizer for entertaining in the Fall. I recently bought a few butternut squashs and wanted to do something fun with them. At first your standard soup came into my mind but then I had the idea of an autumn themed bruschetta. Bingo! To be honest, I have weakness for bite size food... I can't help it. I just love small pieces that pack a lot of flavor in just one bite. The additional benefit of having a fondness for bite sized food is that when entertaining you never freak out over what to serve with cocktails or as an appetizer! Bite size food/crostinis are simply a win-win.
These butternut squash crostinis are served with a ricotta and lemon zest spread. The ricotta compliments the squash and gives it a soft fluffy cheesy bed to rest on. Sage was an obvious choice as it goes hand-in-hand with butternut squash. But I upped this classic pairing by lightly frying fresh sage in olive oil for a minute. It's a definite must-do and worth the few extra calories :) These crostini's can easily be prepped ahead of time and assembled as company arrives.
1 2 lb butternut squash
5 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
1 tbsp brown sugar
freshly ground sea salt & pepper
24 fresh sage leaves
1 cup part skim ricotta
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 whole wheat baguette, sliced
1 garlic clove
fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Clean, peel and dice squash into small pieces. Toss squash with 2 tablespoons oil and sugar on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally until squash is golden & tender, 23-30 minutes. Let cool on sheet.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage; cook until edges begin to curl and turn dark green, 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer fried leaves to a paper towel to drain. Mix ricotta and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt & pepper.
Slice baguette into 1 cm pieces and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven.
To assemble crostini, top each piece with the ricotta mixture and then layer with a spoonful of squash. Drizzle crostini with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Top crostini with a fried sage leave and enjoy!
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