The Handoff: Roasted Butternut Squash Tart with Sautéed Onions
By Marc Duquette
Pelham, NH – Welcome back! As I suggested on Tuesday, I am attempting to build a savory butternut squash tart – relaying the tart from Gillian Ferguson’s Tomato Tarte Tatin (a kind of upside down tart). Since that post I’ve learned that savory squash tarts or pies usually contain onions, cheese, and herbs. Many recipes call for a blend of cheeses which typically include, Italian Fontina and Parmesan cheese. With a desire to source locally, I set off in search of my ingredients.
CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.
I’m not sure if there is such a thing as New England made Fontina cheese, however I did run across a Massachusetts’s made Gouda from Smith’s Farmstead. Although the taste is slightly different, Gouda is similar to Fontina in that it is a mild, nutty, and semi-soft cheese. I found the cheese at Shaw Farm in Dracut, Massachusetts on my way to pick up local eggs. My eggs came from Stoneymeadow Farm (also in Dracut), and are amazing. Eggs of varied colors and sizes are produced from 12 different varieties of hens. Each hen has a name. My favorite eggs are the pastel blue/green eggs produced by Hazel, Lois and Lucy!
My garden provided the squash, onion, and herbs; the remaining ingredients were purchased at A Market Natural Foods Market in Manchester, NH. I picked up raw milk cream, organic walnuts for the crust, and Organic Valley’s parmesan cheese (imported from Wisconsin).
I mentioned “walnuts for the crust” – I’m going with a traditional tart dough enhanced with a bit of walnut meal. It just seems like an appropriate complement to the filling. If you are pressed for time you can substitute an already prepared pie crust in this recipe. So let’s get busy in the kitchen…
Roasted Butternut Squash Tart with Sautéed Onions
Prep time: Tart Shell—50 minutes (includes 30 minutes wait time), Tart—15 minutes
Cook Time Tart Shell—20 minutes, Tart—80 minutes (40 to roast squash, 40 to bake tart)
Total Time (prep, wait, bake): 2 hours, 45 minutes
Special Equipment: 9 or 10 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
For the tart shell:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces grounded to a meal in a food processor
- 8 Tablespoons chilled butter (3/4 stick)
- 2 eggs
- 2-3 Tablespoons cold water
For the tart:
- 1 good sized Butternut squash – about 1 lb (I used 3 small ones)
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (I used local raw milk whipping cream)
- 1 cup grated Gouda or other soft cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used rosemary, oregano, and winter savory)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
For the tart shell:
- Add flour to food processor, add the butter in pieces and pulse until incorporated.
- Add eggs and the water, pulse until the dough shows signs of clumping.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter, form a ball with the dough and flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to fit your tart pan.
- Press dough evenly into the tart pan starting from the center and working your way out and up the edges. Cut away any excess dough.
- Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork in 8-10 locations (this will prevent the dough from bubbling up while baking). Then chill the shell for another 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Cover tart rim with foil to prevent browning, and bake shell for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let shell cool on a rack while you prepare your tart filling.
For the tart:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (or leave on if you’ve just baked the tart shell).
- Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Lightly brush the cut side with olive oil and place cut-side down onto a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes or until squash is soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
- While squash is cooking, sauté the onions in the butter in a skillet over medium heat until soft and brown. Set aside.
- When squash is cool, spoon out the flesh from shell and place into a large bowl. Discard squash shells.
- To bowl, add the sautéed onions and remaining ingredients. Mix well until all ingredients are very well incorporated into the mixture.
- Pour filling into shell and smooth out evenly. Bake the tart for 40 minutes or until filling is set. Cool tart in pan on rack 10 minutes then carefully remove rim. Slice and serve warm.
Well there it is. I served the tart along with a homemade cucumber salad for a nice light dinner. The tart was creamy, nutty, and both sweet and savory at the same time. You can smell the cheese in the kitchen; however its taste was subtle in the tart, letting the squash and onions take center stage. It was a wonderful meal to start off the fall season.
Marc Duquette is an organic gardener in the “Live Free or Die” State, check out his Marc’s Garden website here.