This has been one of those years where it feels like Thanksgiving completely snuck up on me. Summer was just here and then boom, in the blink of an eye, the holiday season has arrived. With Thanksgiving menu planning in full swing, this butternut squash and ricotta tart makes a great vegetarian main dish option for the holiday. It can also serve double duty as a side dish for other guests, making it a win-win in my book.
Butternut squash, my all-time favorite fall veggie, is roasted along with parsnip, to serve as the topping for this tart. Parsnips are one of those items that I really enjoy, yet at the same time are so underused in my kitchen. They are a root vegetable with a slightly starchy and almost nutty taste, and they develop a nice sweetness when roasted.
We're keeping this tart on the simple side by using store-bought puff pastry as the base. It’s topped with a layer of creamy ricotta that is spiced up with plenty of fresh rosemary. The roasted veggies are layered on top before being finished with a sprinkle of green onions and pecans.
You can roast the veggies in advance if you're making this for the holiday. This way they are ready to go and won’t take up precious time and space in your oven. Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can also chop up the pecans and slice the green onions in advance, so they're also ready to go for the big day.
For the veggies:
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
For the veggies:
- Add the parsnip and butternut squash to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender and starting to brown. Remove from the oven, season with additional salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Maintain the oven temperature.
For the tart:
- Add the ricotta, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Set the puff pastry on the baking sheet and roll out to about ¼ inch in thickness.
- Bake the pastry for about 12 to 15 minutes in the 400ºF oven, until light golden brown and puffy. Remove from the oven and carefully press down the center of the pastry a little bit with the back of a spoon, leaving a border around the edge, so the topping has a place to sit.
- Drop the ricotta in spoonfuls over the tart, then gently use a spatula to spread into an even layer. Top evenly with the roasted veggies.
- Return to the oven and bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown. Sprinkle with the green onions and pecans. Slice into squares and serve.