Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Toasted Pecans, Pecorino & Truffle Vinaigrette

Salad with roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans and truffle vinaigrette

I love nights when¬†spontaneity¬†takes over and before you know it you’re sitting down enjoying a big home cooked meal and a million laughs with a few of your closest friends. Sunday was one such night, and I wanted to make something special for the wonderful folks gathered around my table, so I decided to get fancy and break out the truffle oil. I also had a big butternut squash laying around that I had forgotten to include in a veggie roast the other night, so I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate it into the meal.

I’ve always wanted to try making a truffle vinaigrette so I scoured the internet for a few recipes and then thought to myself, why not roast the butternut squash and toss it into a salad with the vinaigrette. I wanted a little extra flavor and texture to bring it all together, so I decided on toasted pecans and a little shaved Pecorino. I whisked together an impromptu dressing, combining a few recipes I found, and added my own little sweet twist. To my delight, in the midst of flowing conversation, my friends all paused to give this on the whim salad a raving review and I humbly had to agree. Lesson learned – you can’t go wrong with a little truffle. Here’s how to make it…

1 box organic mixed greens
1 butternut squash
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil for roasting squash
1 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup shaved Pecorino

Dressing:
I wound up tripling this and added a probably little more here and there. You may want to add more truffle oil if you like an intense flavor.
1.5 tbs white wine vinegar
1.5 tbs lemon
1.5 tbs white truffle oil
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbs honey
Pinch of salt or truffle salt

To roast the squash, cut into small cubes, discarding the skin, toss with olive oil and bake in a pyrex for about 30-35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature (I placed squash in the refrigerator for a few minutes after cooling a bit). While it’s cooking, toast the pecans in a pan over low-medium heat, tossing every 30 seconds or so, making sure they do not burn.

For the dressing, mix together all ingredients, adding the honey and truffle salt last. Adjust ingredients as desired depending upon how much truffle or sweetness you like.

Combine the salad, pecans, squash and Pecorino in a large bowl and slowly mix in the dressing.

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