The pièce de resistance of sides: honey roasted squash with honey ricotta and spiced granola (photo © National Honey Board | photo by Carlos Garcia | food styling by Peg Blackley & Bree Williams).
Here’s a delicious seasonal recipe with accents most of us might not have thought of: Honey-Roasted Acorn Squash with Honey-Lemon Ricotta and Spicy Hazelnut Granola.
If you typically season roasted/baked squash with a pat of butter and some cinnamon or nutmeg—our go-to—this version is an elegant upgrade.
The recipe was created for the National Honey Board by Executive Chef Ashfer Biju of Perrine NYC & The Pierre, A Taj Hotel.
This recipe is for 24 servings, but you can use this serving size recipe converter to cut the recipe to the size you like.
Do you know the difference between roasted versus baked? See the footnote‡.
For The Granola
1. MAKE the granola. This can be done a few days in advance. Combine all the ingredients. Spread on an oiled sheet pan and bake in a 350°F oven until the mixture is dry and crunchy. Cool and store in an airtight container.
2. MAKE the cheese mixture. Whip the ricotta with the honey, lemon zest, and juice, and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the Parmesan and hazelnut powder and taste for seasoning. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the cheese mixture. Set aside.
3. MAKE the acorn squash: Preheat a convection oven to 375°F. Prepare a marinade by whisking together the honey and olive oil. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper.
4. TOSS the marinade with the squash and spread the squash on a sheet pan with the crushed garlic. Make sure the squash is patted dry before the marinade is applied.
5. ROAST for 20 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through. Increase the heat to 400°F, then cook another 5 minutes to get a deeper, darker color on the squash.
6. PLATE: Place 4 or 5 pieces of squash per serving on an ovenproof dish. Pipe several dollops of cheese mixture over the squash. Gratinate under a salamander (or a broiler) until the cheese starts to turn golden brown.
7. REMOVE and top with a generous sprinkling of granola and chopped parsley. Spoon over extra-virgin olive oil and top with crushed peppercorns.
Chef’s Note: Cooking time of the squash may vary depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Leaving the skin on provides a great texture for the final product.
†Hazelnut Powder: Place hazelnuts in a blender and blend on high for 12 seconds or just until the hazelnuts are broken up but do not blend for long enough that they become “butter-like” consistency.
‡Roasted Vs. Baked: The main differences between roasting and baking are (1) the types of foods you roast versus bake, and (2) the temperature of the oven. Roasting requires a higher oven temperature of above 400°F to cook the food, while baking takes place at lower oven temperatures, around 375°F and below.
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