I first made this when a friend hired me to cater her wedding. The bride was a vegetarian, and I knew from my own experiences at catered, sit-down events how dismal the vegetarian options usually are. I wanted her meal to be as filling and appetizing as everyone else's, and that’s how I came up with this tart.
Serves 4 as a main, 8 to 10 as an appetizer
Preheat a rimmed baking sheet in a 425°F oven.
Halve the squash lengthwise. Rub the flesh and skins with oil and season the flesh with salt and pepper. Lay the squash flesh-side down on the preheated baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the skin is browned and wrinkled and a knife slides easily into the flesh. Remove from the oven and cool; turn the oven temperature down to 400°F.
Meanwhile, heat a good glug of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms have released and reabsorbed some of their juices. Add the garlic and rosemary and toss together. Turn the heat to medium-low and keep cooking; if the pan starts to get too dry, douse it with a splash of wine. Scrape to deglaze and keep cooking until the mushrooms have shrunk by about half and are soft, about 10 minutes. At the last minute, fold in the thyme and turn off the heat. Let the mushrooms rest while you prepare the squash.
As soon as the squash is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. Transfer the flesh to a large bowl and mash it with the back of a fork. Mash in the heavy cream, starting with 2 tablespoons, the nutmeg and the cinnamon. When the mixture is cooled completely, whisk in the egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Unfold the puff pastry and roll it out to the size of whatever pan you’re going to use—either a 9-inch pie pan or a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Drape the puff pastry into the pan and push it in gently. Let the excess dough hang over the edges for now.
Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork. Spread the butternut squash about 1/2 inch thick over the bottom of the pastry; it should come about halfway up the tart’s sides. Cover in an even layer of the mushrooms. Dot evenly with the chèvre and cover in an even dusting of Pecorino.
In a small bowl, beat the egg white with the water into an egg wash. Brush over the exposed puff pastry; trim off any bits of dough that hang low down the outside of the baking dish.
Bake the tart for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool for 5 minutes, then slice into wedges or squares and serve.
From The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 per Person (Gotham) by Rebecca Lando.
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Published on May 07, 2013