Butternut Sformato with Crunchy Winter Endive and Shaved Fennel Salad

Butternut Sformato with Crunchy Winter Endive and Shaved Fennel Salad (Wendy Goodfriend)

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I’ve been intrigued by sformato ever since I first tasted a baked ricotta version sprinkled with sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme one summer in Italy. Despite it’s elegant name which sounds like you are preparing something exceedingly complicated and elaborate, it is really a very simple dish to prepare…plus it’s a fun word to say.

A sformato is kind of like a soufflé-like pudding or flan, lightened by egg whites, and often savory. It is incredibly versatile and can be made from any sort of cooked and pureed vegetables, or even cheese such as ricotta, or pasta or rice.

Here, I’ve come up with a sweet-savory version of this Italian specialty that is rich with crème fraiche, and fragranced by fresh sage. I encourage you to make the crunchy, shaved salad that accompanies this sformato as it provides a gorgeous balance of texture and fresh flavor. If you have a mandoline, that’s the best tool to use to get paper-thin slices.

A creamy bite of Butternut Sformato
A creamy bite of Butternut Sformato (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Butternut Sformato with Crunchy Winter Salad

Makes 6 to 8 servings

    Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 2 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 medium heat fennel, trimmed, quartered, and cored (reserve fronds for garnish)
  • 1–2 heads endive
  • 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
    Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish with the butter, then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  2. Grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish with the butter, then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
    Grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish with the butter, then sprinkle with the Parmesan. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  3. To make the butternut puree: Peel, dice and roast 1-2 butternut squash until tender. Manually mash or blend the squash in a food processor to create a smooth consistency.
  4. Peel, dice and roast butternut squash.
    Peel, dice and roast butternut squash. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Manually mash or blend the squash in a food processor to create a smooth consistency.
    Manually mash or blend the squash in a food processor to create a smooth consistency. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the butternut puree, crème fraiche, and egg yolks. Mix in the chopped sage and season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the butternut puree, crème fraiche, egg yolks.
    In a bowl, whisk together the butternut puree, crème fraiche, egg yolks. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Add the chopped sage, salt and pepper and mix into the puree.
    Add the chopped sage, salt and pepper and mix into the puree. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  7. In another clean bowl using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, 1/4 tsp salt, and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form, but do not overbeat.
  8. Beat the egg whites, 1/4 tsp salt, and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
    Beat the egg whites, 1/4 tsp salt, and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  9. Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the butternut mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
  10. Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the butternut mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture.
    Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the butternut mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
    Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  11. Bake until puffed and golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  12. Bake until puffed and golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
    Bake until puffed and golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  13. While the sformato bakes, make the salad. Shave the fennel and endive very thin on a mandolin (or with a sharp knife). Toss together with some of the fronds. Drizzle with the vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  14.  If you have a mandoline, that’s the best tool to use to get paper-thin slices.
    If you have a mandoline, that’s the best tool to use to get paper-thin slices. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Toss together with some of the fronds. Drizzle with the vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    Toss together with some of the fronds. Drizzle with the vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  15. Serve at once with the salad alongside.
  16. Serve the sformato at once with the salad alongside.
    Serve the sformato at once with the salad alongside. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Holiday Dinner Side Dish: Butternut Sformato with Crunchy Winter Endive and Shaved Fennel Salad 22 December,2015Kim Laidlaw

Author

Kim Laidlaw

Kim Laidlaw is a cookbook author, editor, food writer, producer, project manager, and baker who has been in the kitchen covered in flour since she was big enough to stir the biscuit dough. She has over 16 years of experience in book and online publishing, and a lifetime of experience in the kitchen.

Her first cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, was published in 2011; her second cookbook, Baby & Toddler On the Go, was published in April 2013; and her third cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, was published in October 2013.

She was the first blogger on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog, which launched in 2005, and previously worked as a professional baker at La Farine French Bakery in Oakland, CA. She lives in Petaluma with her husband and their child, whom she cooks for everyday. Find out more at http://www.kimlaidlaw.com.

Author

Wendy Goodfriend

I am the Senior Interactive Producer for KQED Food. I have designed and produced food-related websites and blogs for KQED including Bay Area Bites; Check, Please! Bay Area;  Taste This; Jacques Pepin’s websites; Weir Cooking in the City and KQED Food. When I am not creating and managing food websites I am taking photos and video of Bay Area Life and designing online navigation systems. My professional education and training includes: clinical psychology, photography, commercial cooking, web design, information architecture and UX. You can find me engaged in social media on Twitter @bayareabites and on Facebook at Bay Area Bites. I can also be found photoblogging at look2remember.