Butternut Squash Towers with Creamy Wild Rice and Charred Tomato Sauce
It’s the season for winter squash, and there’s nothing we love more than rich and hearty comfort food during these chilly months. Mother Nature is so intelligent in the way she packages squash in sturdy shells that make it easy for them to last on the shelf for 3-6 months while the fields rest under snow or frost. Last winter season we ended up with a case of “ugly” butternut squash from a local farm (they weren’t ugly at all, just not your traditional shape and size), so we got to play with a wide variety of recipes from soups and stews to casseroles and these gorgeous towers.
This recipe works well with any firm winter squash, but we especially like the butternut because its round neck makes for beautiful circular stacks. You could get creative and stuff a roasted acorn squash with the creamy rice and top it with the charred tomato sauce as well. The sage and caramelized onions will taste divine any which way you like.
Enjoy, and stay cozy!
butternut squash towers with creamy wild rice and charred tomato sauce
YIELD: 4 servings
PREP: 30 minutes
COOK: 60 minutes
READY IN: 1.5 hours
1 large or 2 smaller butternut squash
1 cup organic long grain white rice
1 cup wild rice
4 cups chicken bone broth or vegetable stock
½ cup freshly grated raw white cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. grassfed butter or ghee, plus more for sautéing
20 fresh sage leaves, plus a few more for garnish
2 white onions
6 medium organic tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel neck of butternut squash and thinly slice into rounds. Reserve the base of the squash to use in a soup or roast. Stack the squash rounds and roast, covered, in a glass baking dish for 45 minutes – 1 hour until fork tender.
In the meantime, bring 2 cups of broth to a boil in a medium pot with a little salt, then reduce heat to low, add white rice, and cook covered for 20 minutes until all the broth is absorbed.
At the same time, bring the other 2 cups of broth to a boil with salt in another pot, then reduce heat, stir in wild rice, and cook, covered, for 45 minutes until the rice is tender and all the broth is absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, finely mince one of the onions and sauté in butter or avocado oil until just starting to caramelize. Chiffonade sage leaves and cook lightly for one minute more to release their aroma. Remove from the pan to a large bowl.
Chop the second onion into ½ inch cubes, mince the garlic, and sauté in the same pan as before with sea salt, oregano and a little butter or avocado oil, until tender.
Char the whole tomatoes on a gas stove or grill until they start to blister, turning a few times to get all sides.
Place the charred tomatoes and onion/garlic/oregano mixture, along with the red pepper flakes, in a blender or food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Pour back into pan and cook, uncovered, over low heat to thicken slightly and meld flavors. Add more sea salt to taste.
When both rice pots have finished cooking, add the hot rice into the bowl with your sautéed onions and sage, then add the grated cheese, butter, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix together until well combined and sticky.
To serve, ladle tomato sauce on the bottom of the plate, then add one roasted squash round, then a circle of rice, another squash round, then more rice, then one more squash round, and finally a smaller mound of rice on top. Drizzle with lemon tahini sauce. Garnish with a fresh sage leaf.
Tip: If you want to make this recipe vegan, use ½ cup cashew butter, 1 Tbsp. avocado oil and 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast instead of the cheese and butter.