I was very excited about this recipe when I discovered it. I mean how can you go wrong with herbed goat cheese and crispy panko crumbs sandwiched between velvety layers of butternut squash? Unfortunately, sometimes looks can be deceiving and things don’t turn out exactly as planned…
As far as I could tell the preparation of the stacks went fairly smooth. Once I had everything set and garnished, we sat down to dinner and with forks in hand started to cut into our golden towers of vegetables and cheese. But instead of gliding through the stack, my fork got stuck, pushing down the top squash layer and causing the creamy goat cheese to seep out the sides. What happened to my golden towers of perfection?
Well I can come up with several excuses—I had other things cooking, I wasn’t paying enough attention to the time—but mainly I was so afraid of overcooking the squash and having it be mushy, that I ended up undercooking it. I had poked at the squash a little when it was in the boiling water, but because I didn’t want to leave too many marks on my beautiful squash rounds, I didn’t properly spear them to test how done they were. Once the stacks were assembled, I also decided to cut the baking time. I thought the squash were done and how much could a little extra time in the oven really do?
However, upon discovering my little round discs of squash were not tender enough to be eaten, back in the oven the little towers went. After several more minutes in the oven and a long pause in our dinner, the towers emerged much improved. Despite the trouble I had cooking the squash, I think this is a dish well worth trying.
Butternut Squash and Herbed Goat Cheese Stacks
Adapted from Vegetarian Food For Friends
In addition to cooking the squash for longer, the next time I make this dish I will make more of the goat cheese filling. I ran low after filling just two stacks. If you want nice thick goat cheese layers you could double the amount of cheese, yogurt and herbs listed below.
- 1 large butternut squash (or 2 small squashes)
- 4 oz of goat cheese
- ¼ cup Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 10 finely chopped sage leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Set some water to boil in a large pot on the stove. Remove the neck of the squash from the bulb-like base. Save the bottom of the squash for different dish. Peel the neck of the squash and slice it into 1-inch thick rounds. Add the squash rounds to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. Drain the water from the squash and set aside.
Mix together the goat cheese, yogurt, parsley, and sage in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To toast the panko breadcrumbs, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the panko to the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the panko is evenly toasted. Remove from heat when panko is golden brown.
To assemble the stacks, place 4 squash rounds on a large baking sheet. Top each of the rounds with the goat cheese mixture and sprinkle some of the toasted panko on top. Cover each of the cheese and panko topped rounds with another squash round. Cover the second rounds with more cheese and panko and finally top with a third round. Repeat until you have used up all of the squash and goat cheese mixture.
Sprinkle the top of each stack with a little olive oil and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes. Before serving the stacks sprinkle them with a little more panko breadcrumbs and garnish with some fried sage leaves.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Three Chefs (Average Tastiness)
|The undercooked squash kind of took away from the whole experience, but the dish has real potential.|
Three Easy Chairs (Average Difficult)
|Squash is always a little bit of a chore to cut up, but once that is done the rest of the recipe is pretty straight forward.|
Three Apples (Average Nutritional Quality)
|Goat cheese is pretty high in fat and saturated fat, but when compared to cheese made from cows milk it is slightly lower in fat. The squash also helps to balance things out a little.|
Three Leaves (Average Environmental Friendliness)
|The squash and herbs were organic, but the only goat cheese and Greek-style yogurt I could find at my local market were not organic.|