October 17, 2009
Cranberry bean salad with butternut squash
There is no bad way to eat butternut squash. Its warm Fall flavor is slightly sweet and when its full flavor comes out through roasting or sauteeing, it compliments so many other ingredients. I just have never met a butternut I didn't like. I know I should expand my squash repertoire and move into some other winter squashes, but I find that there is something so comforting about the butternut that keeps me coming back. It could be the pale salmon color and how great they look on the outside, compared to that eye-popping orange on the inside. (Orange happens to be my favorite color).
So another quest for butternut recipes this week led me to this wonderful side dish that would allow me to use the last of my borlotti beans from Italy. Borlotti are the beautiful red spotted beans called cranberry beans here. The color is wonderful and they look really cool when fresh and still in their pods. They have a color and a crunch that makes them the perfect compliment to softly sautéed squash and little bit of bitter greens.
I'd seen a salad like this before in one of my cookbooks, but found this recipe on Marthastewart.com. As usual, I altered it to meet my needs. The recipe calls for bacon but I didn't have any and wanted to keep it vegetarian as I was serving it alongside a classic pot roast for dinner. The salad was also delicious cold the next day for lunch. Martha's recipe also called for broccoli rabe, which I love, but it is not yet available in my local market so I substituted kale from our farmers.
(the pot roast was a simple braised beef roast that I cooked low and slow in the oven with fresh herbs, garlic, red wine and beef broth and added chopped carrots and potatoes toward the end of the cooking time. So delicious. The perfect comfort dish.)
Cranberry bean salad with butternut squash (from marthastewart.com)
1. Beans (2 lbs) should be soaked overnight and then cooked with one onion, 1 bay leaf and sevel black peppercorns, with enough water to cover beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cooked through about 25 min.
2. Drain beans, reserving a little cooking water. In a medium bowl, toss beans with 1 T each olive oil and cooking liquidl season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Peel and cube 1 small butternut squash. Working in batches if necessary, sautee in olive oil until lightly browned and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
4. Heat 2 T olive oil and add 3 garlic cloves, minced. Sautee until golden brown. Add kale or other leafy green, saute until wilted and heated through, about 5 min. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add beans and squash to skillet and cook just until heated through and combined. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.