If you were to tell us that a certain ubiquitous fall ingredient would become our favorite sandwich secret right now, we would've raised our eyebrows, frankly.
Squash on a sandwich? Sure, we've had it before—and promptly forgot all about it. But Tom Colicchio has a new sandwich on the menu at his nine New York City 'Wichcraft stores that gives a starring role to roasted butternut squash, and it's all we can think about this week.
The sandwich brings sweet squash together with clouds of white mozzarella and rich hazelnut brown butter, and joins them in a panini press for a warm, crisp, meltingly luscious combo. What inspired the union?
“This recipe is loosely based on one of my favorite fall dishes, butternut squash ravioli," says Colicchio. "The sweetness of the squash contrasts beautifully with the sage and hazelnut brown butter. This is the sandwich equivalent of comfort food." He adds, "At ’Wichcraft, we love using seasonal ingredients on our menu whenever possible. Butternut squash is one of those versatile vegetables that can be prepared in so many ways."
You can make your own at home with the recipe below, or you can stop by 'Wichcraft until November 6, when the limited-edition Roasted Butternut Squash sandwich goes off the menu. At which point, did we mention we have the recipe for you right here?
Roasted Butternut Squash Sandwich with Mozzarella and Hazelnut Brown Butter
Recipe credit: ’Wichcraft
Makes 4 sandwiches
1 pound butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
8 slices Pullman white bread
4 teaspoons hazelnut brown butter (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 350. In a bowl toss the squash in 1 tablespoon of the oil and place on a sheet pan. Season the squash with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes until soft. Preheat a sandwich press according to manufacturer’s specifications. Remove squash from oven add to large bowl and mash with fork. Season with remaining tablespoon of salt and pepper to taste.
Place a thin layer of mozzarella on 4 slices of bread. Top with an even spread of hazelnut butter, followed by a layer of pumpkin. Cover with the 4 remaining bread slices, and place in the sandwich press (no need to butter the press or the bread). Close the lid and apply slight pressure. Cook without disturbing for about 4 minutes.
Open the press and check for color and temperature: the cheese should be melted and the bread golden. Chef tip: If the bread is sticking to the press, allow it to cook for a bit longer and it will unstick itself. If the press seems to generate more heat on the bottom, flip the sandwich halfway through to ensure even cooking (making sure the ridges in the bread line up). Once cooked, remove, cut into halves and serve.
Hazelnut Brown Butter
Makes about ½ cup
4 tablespoons shelled hazelnuts
½ teaspoon anise seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 sage leaves
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a skillet over medium-high heat, toast the hazelnuts until deep brown in color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet, finely chop and return to the skillet. Add the anise seeds and allow them to toast for a few seconds, constantly shaking the pan to avoid burning.
Add the butter and sage, and stir constantly. Season with the salt and pepper and continue to stir until the butter has a nutty brown color. Transfer the butter to a container remove the sage leaves and refrigerate. Once the butter has cooled, stir again to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly mixed. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks.
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