This is an individually portioned version of one of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving sides. I first made the full sized version before Ian and I met, but I’ve brought one with me to every Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ house since — or almost. Last year, I made two — one for my mom’s house, and a second for Ian’s parents’ house — but with an infant and all the infant’s accoutrements to keep track of, we left them both in the fridge at home.
This is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, and each time I make it, I make little allowances. As a new mom, I found that buying a bag of frozen butternut squash from the grocery store saved me a lot of time and effort. This year, I think I will probably fry the sage leaves in browned butter, and use that brown sage butter in place of the vegetable oil. Squash and sage and brown butter just make a lot of sense to me. I may also leave out the ricotta cheese (which is not in the first version of the recipe linked above) loathe though I am to do so. I love ricotta cheese, and I look for the opportunity to shoehorn it into as many dishes as possible, but the texture isn’t quite the same with ricotta.
This year, maybe it will actually make it out the door — although it doesn’t break my heart to have leftovers to eat for days afterwards, either.
Butternut Quinoa ‘Cupcakes’
- 1 medium butternut (or your favorite squash) cubed
- 1 c. quinoa
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. ground sage
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 c. chicken stock (or use vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish)
- 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
- 1 c. ricotta cheese
- 6-12 fresh sage leaves
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook squash according to your preference and time allotted — roasting may take longer than boiling, but will add a depth to the flavor of the dish. In a saucepan, heat oil and soften onions. Add garlic, sage, nutmeg and quinoa and toast lightly — until it begins to smell nutty — then add stock and squash, mix well, and cover. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, then add in cheeses. Place sage leaves face-down in the cups of a greased jumbo muffin pan (or make 12 standard-sized ‘cupcakes’ in a standard pan) and press quinoa mixture into them. Bake 20-30 minutes or until they begin to crisp. Invert onto a serving platter and enjoy.