Food 52 just released its first cookbook—a collection of crowd-sourced recipes. Started by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Food 52 is brilliant.
I have loved every minute I’ve spent on the site and have learned so much about cooking, cultures and human nature there. It is a living, breathing community with all its quirks and glory.
At the core of Food 52 are the recipes. They are as divine as they are diverse. I’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried and have had success with every one—no matter how rudimentary the directions were. I have found a fail-proof yeast roll. Pasta tossed with a fried egg and topped with crispy breadcrumbs is a staple in my house now. And, a triple chocolate cookie that sent my dinner guests and me straight to a place called Nirvana.
Last year about this time, I had a recipe selected as runner-up and later as a wildcard in one of the contests, meaning it will be in the second Food52 book. It is the roasted butternut squash recipe below.
I decided to share it for a couple of reasons. One is when I won I received a package of goodies from OXO. They were kitchen items I mostly already had including, a bowl, a cutting board and a vegetable peeler. I left them in the box not sure where I’d find room for them in our already over-stuffed kitchen.
Then I took out the cutting board to give to someone else, but when I felt it and looked at it I realized how perfect it was in size, shape and utility. It has rubber ends to keep it from slipping and a groove to catch juices— it’s not big enough to carve a turkey on, but it’s perfect for a bunch of juicy tomatoes.
I can’t recommend it enough. You can find it here at the OXO site. And, of course, the Food52 cookbook is a must have—one copy for you…one copy for the food lover on your holiday gift list…buy it at my favorite bookstore.
Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Galette
What to drink: Chardonnay. I like to go old school with an chardonnay that has some toasty oak flavors and lots of fruit all kept in check by acidity. Kumeu River Village is a favorite on the low end and Brewer-Clifton is a top choice on the high end.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 clove chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1 prepared piecrust (purchased or from recipe below)
1 cup grated fontina
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
To make the dough: Put the flour, semolina, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to form a mixture that looks like small peas. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough sticks together (to test, remove the top and gather the dough in your fingers. If it sticks together without crumbling, it’s ready). Add the ice water while pulsing, until the dough comes together, being careful not to over mix. Transfer to a lightly floured board and shape the dough into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the filling: Cut the squash into two pieces to separate the rounder part from the narrower section. Peel the entire squash, cut both parts in half and remove any seeds. Cut all four pieces into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put in a large bowl and add the olive oil, chopped garlic and thyme. Toss to coat evenly. Spread out on one of the prepared baking sheets. Set the bowl aside.
Sprinkle the squash with the salt and pepper. Put the unpeeled garlic cloves on the baking sheet and bake until the squash and garlic cloves are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out the dough into a large circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to the remaining prepared baking sheet and refrigerate.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, peel and put in the reserved bowl. Mash with the back of a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the ricotta.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and spread the garlic-cheese mixture over the top, leaving a 1-inch border. Spread the squash over the garlic-cheese mixture and fold the edges toward the center of the galette. Sprinkle the fontina over the center of the galette. Sprinkle the edges of the crust with the parmesan and bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool before slicing and serving.