The last savory part of our meal, before the pear and cranberry crostata and after the crisp fall salad of celery root, apples and shaved fennel, we ate something a bit heartier: butternut squash and leeks baked with goat cheese. I love combining leeks with roasted butternut squash, whose rich flavor goes very well with the sharpness of the goat cheese.
This baked dish is a delicious and easy way of preparing some winter vegetables. It’s also good inside of a savory crostata, but I like the ease of preparing this dish without the crostata crust.
- 1 medium sized butternut squash
- 3-4 leeks, with the top third chopped off
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 6 oz. Goat cheese
- Kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the butternut squash into 1” cubes. Try to make sure the pieces are equally sized so that they cook at the same rate. Put the butternut squash cubes in an oven-proof baking dish and toss with the olive oil. Salt well (1/2 tsp kosher salt) and mix in the garlic cloves. Put in the oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, cut the leeks into ½” slices. Run the chopped leeks under water in a colander to remove all the dirt.
- Melt the butter in a pan with the remaining olive oil and add the leeks with a pinch of salt. Cook the leeks on low heat until they are soft, but not browned. This should take about 10 -15 minutes. When cooked, take off the heat.
- When the butternut squash is ready, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350. Transfer the leeks from the stovetop to the same baking dish as the squash and mix well. Add the goat cheese and mix gently, and sprinkle with the black pepper. Return to the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted and browned, about 25 minutes. When ready, serve warm.
Notes: The leek and butternut squash combination also works particularly well with blue cheese, such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola. Instead of goat cheese, try making this dish with any blue cheese that you fancy.