This panzanella is my favorite salad – strange words coming from a woman who loves her heirloom tomatoes! But the flavor combinations in this salad, with the slightly warm butternut squash and Brussel sprouts, put this one over the top! There are three preparational steps for this recipe before adding it all together into one bowl of utter goodness! We use this as an entree – which makes it perfect for a vegetarian! This is based on Michael Chiarello’s Winter Panzanella – with a few tweaks! I love to watch that man cook!
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 pound Brussel sprouts, with ends trimmed, and halved
- olive oil
- small handful of sage
- sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 small loaf sourdough bread, cut into cubes
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino cheese
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet add the butternut squash and Brussel sprouts. Drizzle with olive oil, sage, sea salt and black pepper. Using your hands, combine thoroughly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
In a measuring cup add the onion and champagne vinegar and soak for 15 minutes. Just before adding to salad, whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one minute, watch garlic – do not let it burn. Add bread cubes and stir to coat with the butter mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle with Pecorino cheese. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring one or twice.
In a large bowl add walnuts and cranberries. Add croutons, vegetables and onions. Carefully mix. Serve immediately and enjoy! Much better when the vegetables are slightly warm, but also good served cold for lunch the next day – if there are leftovers!