I’m apparently on a big squash kick right now! This is a great fall (or Thanksgiving) appetizer, featuring roasted squash (any variety), sweet roasted garlic and goat cheese on flaky puff pastry.
Earlier this week I had my first night alone to care for 7-week-old Everett – my hubby was away on business. I positioned Everett’s bassinet within arm’s reach, wedged between my side of the bed and the dresser, so that I wouldn’t have far to go for night wake-ups. (Without Adarsh there to help out, I wanted to do whatever I could to maximize my sleep.)
But just as I was drifting off, I sat up in a panic – I had a sudden fear that my blankets would fall off the bed and onto baby. So naturally, I proceeded to fuss with my duvet every few minutes for the next two hours.
Then suddenly I became gripped with the idea that if there was an earthquake, my jewelry box or aloe vera plant might fly off the dresser and hit him in the head. So I leapt from the bed to secure the area.
When finally I felt confident that the bassinet was sufficiently suffocation- and earthquake-safe, and because I was still awake anyway thinking about emergency evacuation plans and whether or not we had enough water in the home to keep us all alive for a couple of days, I decided to do another dream feed to help him sleep longer. Maybe he’ll sleep through the night now! I optimistically thought to myself. But in letting that thought cross my mind, of course he woke up every hour for the rest of the night.
There’s nothing to do in such a situation but laugh and make an extra-strong pot of coffee in the morning.
I think it’s funny that this episode of neurotic momming happened hot on the heels of me posting on Instagram how being a mom has made me less anxious. Which is true – not many external things faze me now; I have no space in my life for drama, it takes a lot to make me lose my cool, and I enjoy serenity through most of my workdays. But I realize that perhaps this is because all of my crazy is now directed at the small humans I’m trying to keep alive.
In any case, I’ll take the daily calm in exchange for occasional pull-all-the-stops moments of late-night catastrophe planning.
And I’ll take some goat cheese on roasted squash in tart format, please.
This is a super-easy, very seasonal appetizer. The components can be made ahead (I just roasted the garlic and the squash when I had my oven turned on to bake a lasagna or something). You can even assemble it ahead and freeze until ready to use.
Puff pastry is a hero ingredient to stock in your freezer during the holidays, because it’s so easy to make something impressive looking and great-tasting in no time, especially appys and desserts.
Easy Squash, Roasted Garlic + Goat Cheese Tart
- 4 oz/115 grams goat cheese
- 1 medium winter squash
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil divided use
- 1 sheet puff pastry thawed
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
- Snipped chives for garnish
- Aleppo pepper for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake 30-60 minutes, until tender when pierced with a knife (cooking time will vary depending on type and size of squash).
- Use a serrated knife to slice the top off of the head of garlic, exposing the cloves inside. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over top, then wrap up in a large square of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Roast on pan alongside squash for about 40 minutes, until golden brown and tender.
- While squash and garlic are cooling, roll one sheet of puff pastry into a square of roughly 11" x 11". Position on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- When cool enough to handle, peel and mash both the squash and the garlic. Transfer 1 1/2 cups squash plus garlic to a medium bowl and add 1 tsp kosher salt. Stir until well combined. Taste and add more salt as desired.
- Spread squash mixture over puff pastry, then top with crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden and puffed. Shower with snipped chives and a dusting of Aleppo pepper, if desired. Serve warm.