When fall comes around, pumpkin and butternut squash always seem to steal the spotlight from the other squash. This simple dish puts the sweet delicata front and center and pairs it with pumpkin seeds and ricotta salata.
What to buy: Ricotta salata is a semihard Italian cheese that can be found at most gourmet markets or Italian groceries. If you can’t find it, you can substitute crumbled feta (which will be a bit saltier) or just leave it out.
Saba is resqueezed and cooked wine-grape must (the leavings of grape pressings), and it tastes something like wine-flavored molasses. It can be found in gourmet grocery stores and online.
1 medium delicata squash, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings
2 tablespoonsolive oil, plus more for brushing
4 ouncesspinach, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoonssherry vinegar
1/3 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
2 ounces shaved ricotta salata
Saba, for drizzling (optional)
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Brush squash rings with olive oil on both sides and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until the underside of the squash rings is blistery and brown and fork tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer cleaned spinach to a large bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and reserve in the refrigerator.
When the squash is almost ready, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small frying pan. When it shimmers, add shallot and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the bottom, and immediately remove from heat.
Pour shallot mixture over reserved spinach and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired.
To serve, layer squash with spinach and top with pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle with ricotta salata and drizzle with saba (if using).
Beverage pairing:Naia Verdejo, Spain. This dish has a pungent sharpness from the sherry vinegar, shallot, and ricotta salata. The squash brings a little sweetness. All of these are qualities shared by this Verdejo, which has a lemony sharpness mellowed by vanilla and honeysuckle.