I found fresh sage at my greengrocer’s last week. I’d never worked with sage before — it’s not an herb that was easily found in LA markets, and I didn’t plant any in my herb box here. Besides, the slight fuzziness of the leaves freaked me out a little bit. But I sniffed the bunch of leaves and was immediately transported to the land of nutty warm fall dishes and… breakfast sausage? Well, sage is the main herb in American breakfast sausage, so no wonder.
Butternut squash is aptly named. With the creaminess of butter and a subtle earthiness along with a sweetness that’s magnified when the squash is roasted, it’s perfect paired with a tangy goat cheese. With bits of walnuts for crunch, these little phyllo pockets were filling and well-balanced snack.
Unfortunately, this plate of goodness was destined for a fall. I only got a few bites before they, er, found themselves on the floor, then in the trash. Oh well. Guess I’ll just have to make some more.
Butternut Squash, Sage, and Chevre Phyllo Triangles
Makes 30 pastries.
1 small butternut squash (to yield about 1 1/2 cups cooked squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
5-7 sage leaves, chiffonade
10 sheets phyllo dough
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
Heat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Peel the butternut squash, then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the flesh into 1″ cubes. Place the cubes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20-25 minutes, until fork-tender.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the cooked squash cubes, reserving any remaining squash for another use. Allow it to cool slightly, until it is cool enough to handle. In a large bowl, combine the squash with the goat cheese, chopped walnuts, and sage chiffonade and mash with a potato masher or other implement.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap and a dampened kitchen towel over the stack of phyllo sheets. Work with only one sheet at a time, replacing the plastic wrap and towel to keep the phyllo from drying out.
Take one sheet of phyllo and lay it on a smooth working surface. Brush the entire sheet evenly with butter and top with another sheet of phyllo and another layer of butter. Cut the buttered phyllo stack into six strips width-wise. Each strip should be about 12″ x 2 3/4″.
Place a heaping teaspoon of the squash filling on the bottom left corner of each phyllo strip. Fold the corner over to make a right triangle-shaped packet, then continue folding the pastry up the strip of phyllo as if you were folding a flag, keeping the right triangle shape. Place the pastry, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each pastry with more melted butter. Repeat with the rest of the phyllo and filling.
Bake the pastries until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
These little snacks freeze exceptionally. Place them in the freezer after the wrapping stage. They will keep for about 3 months. You may either bake these from frozen, adding about 5 minutes to their baking time, or thaw before cooking.
Music to cook by: Tomorrow Goes Away [Delta Spirit // Ode to Sunshine]