Squash Walnut Galette (and NYC!!)

squash and walnut galette

It strikes me that I'm somewhat of a homebody.  Not by choice, really--just necessity.  Mary calls this the "lockstep" phase of life. Between childcare arrangements, Yancey's crazy schedule, Wyatt's school, and a tight budget, it just doesn't seem worth it to get out of step, break formation.  And, to my delight and surprise, there are many joys in routine.  Before I became a parent, I dreaded having to say things like, "Sorry we can't come to the party.  That's right at the kids' bedtime."  Now, most the time, I'm happy to put the kids to bed early and have a quiet night at home.  I know there are some amens out there.

BUT (did you feel that coming?) I'm going to NYC with Bethany in three weeks!   I'd love to play it cool and just post from the enviable destination like it's no big deal, but I'm excited and this is a really big deal.  For lots of reasons--time out of lockstep, chances to sample some of of NYC's food bounty.  Even more than that, though, 3 days with Bethany without our collective four children.  She said, "I don't care if we get on the plane, read magazines, and turn around and fly right back home." Spoken like a true mother. Bethany's sister is in theater, and she's working on the production of Dreamgirls, opening at the Apollo Theater the weekend we're going.  Hello, free tickets, backstage passes, and being out as late as I want.  (Some of you are laughing--you know 10:30 is living on the edge for me).

So here's where you come in--where should we eat?!  I imagine we'll eat lots of street food/cheap nibbles, but we're planning on one big splurge, too.  I'm looking forward to using your suggestions as a travel guide.

And here's another galette for you.  You are probably not inspired by these anymore, but The Leftoverist is a one-trick pony sometimes.  For the party, I made four of these and  four with bacon, caramelized onion, and Gruyere.  The squash was more popular, but maybe that's just because it was first in line.  (Caterer's trick:  put the things you have the least of at the end of the buffet table).  I had a whole one leftover that I took to my meeting the next morning.   That's one lovely thing about savory tarts--they can be eaten at any time of day and still shine.  Believe me--I know.

early morning galette-making

Butternut Squash and Walnut Galette
My mom and I have been having a back-and-forth about galette dough lately--more flaky, all-butter dough, or the sour cream cornmeal one that's always been my standby?  I've alternated, but have landed on the sour cream cornmeal dough, mostly because it's sturdier.  It IS a little less flaky, but has great flavor, and the dough is incredibly easy to work with.  I've included it again here even though it's already on the site.  I think I instructed you to use fingertips in that recipe, and I've been doing it in the food processor lately.  Either is fine, but the food processor sure is quick.

I used butternut here, but you could use sugar pumpkins (yum!), delicata, kabocha, etc. The key is to cook it like I instruct if you don't want it to be too mushy or too hard.

For dough:
from Baking with Julia Child. I always double this.  The extra disc of dough will keep in the fridge for several days.

1 c. flour
pinch salt
1/4 c. cornmeal
7 Tb. cold unsalted butter
1/3 c. ice water
3 Tb. sour cream

Pulse  flour and cornmeal together in the bowl of a food processor.  Drop butter in and pulse until butter is in pea-sized lumps. Stir ice water and sour cream together in a small bowl, then drizzle over flour mixture.  Pulse again about 8 times just until mixture holds together--you don't want to pulse it so much that it forms itself into a ball.

Gather dough together and form into a ball.  Put ball on a piece of plastic wrap, loosely gather plastic wrap around it and twist, then press dough into a disc. Refrigerate for one hour before rolling out.  Roll out on a floured surface till dough is about 1/8″ thick.  Fold into quarters and transfer to baking sheet.  Unfold and fill.

For filling:
1 1/2  c. peeled seeded butternut squash, sliced into 1/4" chips (some will be crescent-shaped because of the squash's shape.  I don't worry about them all looking the same)
2 ts. olive oil
1 c. whole milk ricotta
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated parmesan or Gruyere
1/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1 Tb. chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
For egg wash:  1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of water

Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat oven to 375.

Toss cut and peeled squash with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Dump onto preheated baking sheet, making sure each piece is lying cut side down and they're not piled on top of each other.  You're looking for al dente squash here, not fully cooked and mushy.  Roast until beginning to brown and crisp up on the edges, about 12 minutes.  It will taste a little underdone.  Set aside.

Mix ricotta, egg, and parmesan with a little salt and pepper.  Spread evenly over dough, leaving about an inch around the outside. Arrange cooked squash over ricotta mixture, and top with walnuts, rosemary, and another sprinkle of parmesan. With a basting brush, lightly brush egg wash over crust.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until crust is golden.