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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Burrata
“This beautiful butternut squash salad with creamy burrata cheese and peppery arugula is perfect for fall entertaining. For the best flavor and texture, remove the burrata from the refrigerator about an hour before use and assemble the salad while the squash is still warm from roasting so the cheese will melt slightly. Feel free to use precut butternut squash to make this recipe easier. If you can find pomegranates, the arils add a bright pop of color and flavor to this healthy salad, but it's just as good—and almost as impressive-looking—without them.”
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (see Tips)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups lightly packed baby arugula
1 burrata ball (3¾ ounces), sliced
¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (see Tips) (optional)
1Preheat oven to 400°F.
2Combine 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, paprika, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add squash; toss to coat. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until tender, about 25 minutes.
3Meanwhile, whisk shallot, molasses, vinegar, thyme and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
4When the squash has finished roasting, toss arugula with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Transfer to a serving platter. Scatter the squash over the arugula and top with burrata slices. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons dressing and sprinkle with walnuts and pomegranate seeds (if using).
Tips: Pomegranate molasses has a bright, tangy flavor. (Don't confuse it with grenadine syrup, which contains little or no pomegranate juice.) Find it in Middle Eastern markets and some large supermarkets near the vinegar or molasses. To make your own: Simmer 4 cups pomegranate juice, uncovered, in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 45 to 50 minutes. (Do not let the syrup reduce too much or it will darken and become very sticky.) Makes about ½ cup. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting through the skin but not into the interior of the fruit. Hold the fruit underwater, break it apart and use your hands to gently separate the plump seeds (arils) from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. The seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.