Roasted Squash with Bacon Jam, Hazelnuts, and Ricotta Salata

Roasted Squash with Bacon Jam, Hazelnuts, and Ricotta Salata

Inspired by The Girl and the Fig's Honey-glazed Winter Squash

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Roasted squash with bacon jam, hazelnuts, and ricotta salata is a dish when you're at the crossroads of healthy and decadent, or vegetarian and carnivore.

The tricky thing about bacon jam is figuring out how to enjoy it without eating it all at once. I remembered The Girl and the Fig's honey-glazed squash and how they used honey to sweeten the dish and was curious to know if other sweet toppings would work just as well. For me, the bacon jam here does the trick. It's smokey and sweet and, well, bacon (can we all agree that bacon here is an adjective?). The sweetness of the jam plays so well with the salty bites of ricotta salata.

The squash is the perfect, healthy, stage for the bacon and cheese to mix and play, making the end dish feel decadent but not overwhelmingly unhealthy.

On a whim at a speciality food store in Oakland, we picked up some smoked maple syrup. It is just what it sounds like and is very strong making it a perfect choice here for a finishing touch. If you can't find it or don't want to buy another thing you'll use up slowly any dark maple syrup will do.

As with all dishes, be sure to taste between plating and finishing. You might need a little salt at the end or a lot. Same for the olive oil. Taste, adjust, taste, adjust.

Ingredients

A mix of about 2.5 lbs of squash:

1 Delicata squash, sliced in half and seeded

1 Acorn or Carnival squash, sliced in half and seeded

Olive oil

Salt + Pepper

¼ cup bacon jam

¼ crumbled ricotta salata

Toasted, chopped hazelnuts to garnish (about ¼ cup)

Smoked maple syrup or dark maple syrup to finish

Steps

Preheat oven to 350°

Slice squash into ½ inch thick rounds or half-moons. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with a good glug of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until just soft, about 15 minutes. Move the tray to the top position of your oven and broil until the tops of the squash are nicely browned. Remove from oven and arrange slices on a serving dish. 

While the squash is in the oven warm through a ¼ cup of bacon jam on the stove. 

Top the squash with the bacon jam, ricotta salata, and hazelnuts. Taste before adjusting with the finishing touches and alter accordingly; you may need more salt or syrup depending on your squash. Finish with olive oil, a shower of salt, pepper, and a few back and forths of the maple syrup. 

Serve hot or at room temp.

Notes

You could make this dish without the bacon jam. If you do, play with adding either bacon lardons cooked and tossed with honey or maple syrup.

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Roasted Squash with Bacon Jam, Hazelnuts, and Ricotta Salata
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