Say hello to your newest showstopper Thanksgiving appetizer.
I say “your” because you are definitely going to make this. I can feel it. Or…taste it?
Prepping the polenta is slightly annoying in the amount of time it takes, but it’s not difficult.
AND! You can make the polenta a day ahead of time! AND! I wouldn’t be showing you this if it wasn’t worth it in the end.
AND (I’ll stop now.)! The colors!!!
They’re like little bites of fall.
The polenta is cooked then chilled then crisped in the oven to turn into perfect bites of crunchy crostini. Who needs a French baguette for crostini? This is way more fun.
The ricotta is very lightly sweetened with maple syrup to compliment the natural sweetness of the butternut squash and contrast with the savory polenta.
And the texture. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Appetizer, or………dinner. The choice is yours.
adapted from: epicurious.com
Polenta Crostini with Butternut Squash, Ricotta + Sage gluten-free // yields 24-32 crostini
- 1 cup uncooked polenta + cooking water
- 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder granules
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash
- 30+ sage leaves
- 1 cup full fat ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons refined avocado oil or ghee (or other high-heat safe oil)
- salt + pepper
Cook polenta according to package directions, until stiff in texture. Cook time will vary depending on the brand. After stirring the polenta into your boiling water add 1-2 tablespoons of butter or oil, the garlic, and about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt. When finished, stir in the parmesan cheese. Add more salt + pepper to your liking.
Spread the polenta evenly and firmly on a rimmed (unlined) baking sheet 9x13 in size. If you don’t have that size pan aim to spread the polenta evenly to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness all over.
Place in the fridge until fully chilled, 30-45 minutes.
After 20 minutes of chilling, preheat your oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of oil and a few pinches of salt. Roast for 20-28 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and tender. Set aside.
While roasting, heat a small pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Once fully heated, add about 10 sage leaves to the pan (do not overcrowd) for about 30 seconds until the edges start to curl and barely brown. Place on a paper towel to drain excess grease. Repeat 2-3 more times.
Stir ricotta with the maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Place in the fridge.
Slice polenta into 2-3-inch pieces and place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
As soon as the squash finishes set your oven to broil with a rack in the top position. Place the polenta under the broiler for 3-6 minutes, until crispy to the touch. Flip and broil for another 3-6 minutes. Keep a close eye on the polenta. Let cool for 5 minutes or to room temperature.
Assemble polenta with ricotta, butternut squash, a sage leaf, and a sprinkle of salt. Serve slightly warm, at room temp, or chilled from the fridge.
notes: When broiling the polenta it will feel crisp to the touch but doesn’t darken much in color. Test crispness with a quick touch.
If serving chilled, be sure to chill each ingredient separately and then assemble. Polenta can be made 1 day ahead if desired. Cook and spread in the pan then keep in the fridge until ready to broil.
How in the world is it already Friday? Cheers to that!