crispy pieces of toasted bread topped with whipped ricotta cheese and caramelized butternut squash, flavored with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and sage
servings: 8-10 appetizer portions
4 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
1 handful sage leaves
1 ¼ lb diced butternut squash, ¼” cubes
1 ½ cups (12 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tbsp + ¼ cup maple syrup
freshly cracked black pepper
1 loaf italian bread, sliced ½”
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add the sage leaves. Fry in an even layer until crisp on both sides. Transfer the sage to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
Add the butternut squash to the skillet. Cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is caramelized and tender.
Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Place the slices of bread onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil to coat both sides. Toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Cut each slice into half.
To the squash, add the balsamic vinegar and remaining ¼ cup of maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes on medium low until reduced. Season with salt to taste. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
To assemble, spread the whipped ricotta onto each piece of toast. Top with the butternut squash (along with any extra glaze), the fried sage, flaky sea salt, and more freshly cracked black pepper.