Gingered Winter Squash and Pear Puree
The zestiness of fresh ginger counterbalances the sweetness of the squash and pear in this intriguing vegetable dish. Ginger’s spiciness is delivered via a bath of nutty, rich brown butter, which is swirled into the puree just before serving, and is offset by ribbons of fragrant fresh sage.
- 1 small butternut squash, about 1 1/2 lb., cut in half lengthwise and seeded
- 2 firm but ripe pears such as Anjou or Bosc, peeled, halved and cored
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- One 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 6 fresh sage leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 rimmed baking sheets.
Brush the cut sides of the squash and pears with the 2 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash, cut sides down, on one of the prepared sheets. Place the pears, cut sides down, on the other sheet. Cover the baking sheets with aluminum foil and roast until the squash and pears are very tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 30 to 35 minutes for the pears and 1 hour for the squash.
Place the cooked pears in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add it to the bowl with the pears. Discard the squash skins. Mix on medium speed until smooth. It is okay if a few coarse pieces of pear remain, but the squash should be completely smooth.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to brown and smell nutty, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and sage and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Measure out 1 Tbs. of the browned-butter mixture and set aside. Add the squash mixture to the pan and continue to cook just until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, drizzle the reserved browned-butter mixture over the squash and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).