Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roasted butternut squash over pecorino grits


What happens when two Southerners meet and get married in the North, and raise two Yankee children, one of whom ends up going to college in northern California?


Dishes like this one.


This is one of those meals that came out of the thought process of, "hmm, how can I use all those bits of leftover ingredients already in my kitchen?"

I had a few slices of roasted butternut squash, a small quantity of caramelized red onions, a wedge of pecorino cheese, a container of "quick" grits, a jar of pre-minced garlic, a bottle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette, a plastic boxy-thing of pre-washed salad greens, and a bag of walnuts.

I boiled a little more than 1 cup of water, stirred in 1/4 cup grits and about 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, then covered the saucepan, lowered heat to med-low and cooked (stirring occasionally) for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I shredded a whole bunch of cheese and found my bottle of ground cayenne pepper, and in a separate bowl, tossed a large handful of greens with a small amount of dressing. When the grits were about done, I mixed in the cheese and cayenne, then covered it again and turned the heat to lowest. Meanwhile, I microwaved the squash and onions for about 30 sec, and toasted a small handful of walnuts in a dry cast-iron skillet over high heat.

To assemble, I made a small mound of grits in the middle of the plate, arranged the butternut squash slices on top, then scattered the caramelized red onion over that. Next, I scattered the vinaigrette greens over that and topped with the toasted walnuts. Yum!

So, why do I like grits? Because I come from a Southern family. Why do I like them with cayenne pepper in them? That'll probably be the Baton Rouge side of the family. And the pecorino cheese? That'll be the years in California. And the butternut squash and walnuts? Pretty sure that's the Yankee in me.