Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Squash Crostata

The deadline to enter our Quickies Morning, Noon, and Night Cocktail Challenge has been moved back.  Please send in your entries by Monday September 27, 2010.  We will then announce the winner and post the round-up on Tuesday September 28. 2010.

A few more days for your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to create your sexiest drink, alcoholic or non alcoholic.

The prize is the marvelous cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon, and Night by the lovely Denise Fletcher.

Thank you for your much appreciated input regarding the Guest Post Spotlight Thursday.  I was merely conducting a survey, my intention was never to stop it.  I am thrilled that most of you enjoy this series as much as I do.  Luckily, we are booked solid into March 2011 with many many more talented foodies.

This week I am happy to welcome Chef Dennis from More Than A Mount Full.  Dennis is the Chef / Director of Dining Services at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pa.  He is a passionate advocate for healthy cuisine and proper nutritional education at his school.  When he is not working at the Mount, he is running his wildly popular blog, that was recently featured on  Chef Dennis is a very nice person and one of the most generous bloggers around.

If you have yet to check out More Than A Mount Full, please do so.  He makes some fantastic dishes there.  I must warn you though, dude has a serious, and a bit alarming, zucchini blossom addiction.  Fortunately it inspires him to make some creative courses with that ingredient.


Guest Post Spotlight Thursday

I would like to say hello to all of LC readers, if you don’t know me I am Chef Dennis from More Than A Mount Full. I work at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pa, where I have the privilege of feeding 560 High School girls everyday.

To say that I am a fan of LC, would be an understatement, I have enjoyed watching Lazaro create incredible new dishes and reconstruct classics. His commitment to organic and sustainable foods is truly inspiring, and has me thinking when ever I do make food purchases. When Lazaro asked me to do a guest post for LC, I was deeply honored! I would also like to thank Lazaro for being such a good friend and always leaving such positive comments for me, he has helped me more than he will ever know.

In the spirit of LC, today I would like to share with you a new creation of mine. I like to start off my Saturdays at out local farmers market in Collingswood. We are so fortunate to have such a great selection of local and organic produce, as well as organic eggs and meats. While strolling through the market last Saturday looking for something special to make for this post, I chose some items that I don’t use very often, let’s say I was inspired. I have to admit that all of my selections were not organic, but they were all from local farms in South Jersey.

For today’s creation I chose a medley of fall squash, Butternut, Acorn, and Heirloom Patty Pan. When I purchased them I knew right away they would be perfect for a Crostata. Those delicate wonderful flavors intermingled with flaky dough. My stomach was grumbling at the thought of such a wonderful treat!

As I was preparing the dough, I decided to change it up a bit, after all I wanted this to be extra special….so I used a combination of white and wheat flours, as well as some ground pistachio’s. I wanted to add a little sweetness to this dish without adding to much sugar. As I looked through my pantry I spied some white raisins, and dried cranberries…Perfect! I also thought a few pistachios would add a little more depth of flavor. But it still seemed to be missing something, I needed another flavor, something to add just a little more zip to this dish…..hmmm…..caramelized onions….and what a great addition that was. I wasn’t completely sure how it would be received, I mean it was a savory Crostata, not really sweet and it wasn’t fruit…..sigh….I did get a little nervous.

This Crostata was making an appearance at our neighbors BBQ, well it didn’t take long for it to get passed around and completely devoured….I think everyone was a surprised as I was at just how good it was, and that’s when I knew it was good enough to share with all the LC readers. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did, and thank you all for stopping by to say hello!

Pastry Dough
1 cup All Purpose Flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup Ground Pistachio’s
1 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/c cup cold Unsalted Butter (1 Stick) cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 Large Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Ice Water
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

I made my dough in a food processor, but feel free to do it the old fashioned way.

Add your flours, sugar, ground pistachio’s and salt in the food processor and pulse 3 times to mix.

Scatter the butter over the flour mix and pulse 7 or 8 times to cut in the butter.

Add Egg yolks one at a time and pulse 2 -3 times to incorporate.

Fluff mixture with fork and then add your ice water and balsamic vinegar and pulse 5 or 6 times or until the dough begins to form clumps, do not let the dough form a ball on the blade!

It should look like coarse crumbs, dump mix into a large bowl, form into ball, then flatten into a disc, wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/ 2 hour. While your dough is setting prepare the Squash.

Fall Squash Crostata

1 half butternut squash, peeled seeded and sliced
1 Acorn squash, peeled seeded and sliced
1 Large Patty Pan Squash, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 small sweet onion diced
½ cup salted pistachios
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
½ cup demara sugar or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon (more if you like cinnamon)
1 stick sweet Butter

In a large skillet, melt your butter and add the diced onions, allow to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add in all of the prepared squash and allow to sit and caramelize, you will see the butternut squash get some good color from the heat. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and mix together.

Allow this mixture to continue cooking for about 3-5 more minutes.

Remove the squash mixture from the heat, and place on a cookie sheet to cool.

Allow mixture to cool to the touch, before placing on the pie crust.

While the mixture is cooling, take out your prepared crust, to allow to warm up slightly.

Flour your working surface, and roll out your crust to about a 16 inch diameter.

Place the cooled squash mixture in the center of the dough, heaped in the middle, leave about 2-3 inches of dough exposed, without any mixture on it. Begin to make folds with the exposed dough, partially covering the squash mixture. Make 5 or 6 folds, it should look rustic, not perfect!

Brush the dough with a milk wash if you like, and then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the dough is fully cooked.

Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and serve warm, or room temperature.

This is such a great way to showcase the wonderful flavors of Autumn, the often overlooked varieties of squash are such a wonderful treat, and truly shine in this wonderful Crostata. I hope you all have a chance to try it, you won’t be disappointed!

All the Best!


For more fantastic posts, check out Chef Dennis at More Than A Mount Full.


  1. I see those squash blossoms...Lovely Crostata, with beautiful fall flavors...Thanks Dennis and Lazaro for another great guest post :)
    P.S. Love the pistachios here Dennis, great flavors...

  2. hi Chef Dennis,

    i have never tried crostata before. in fact, this is the first time i've heard of this dish. it sounds very interesting and inviting. opening up a pouch filled with different varieties of squash is the perfect comfort food for fall, i'd say. and i love that the pouch is not fully closed, leaving just enough of an opening to tease the eyes. a wonderful enchanting dish indeed!

    Thank you again Lazaro for another great guest post read!

  3. What an intriguing mix of savory and sweet Dennis! I love that you incorporated pistachios into the crust and added heartiness with a little wholewheat. White raisins are new to me and now I have to go seek them out - your fault ;) Your crusty is beautiful in a natural, very rustic, rough hewn way. So much character!

    Thank you both Lazaro and Dennis for a beautiful post to herald Autumn! (which we had Autumn over here - such a beautiful season)

  4. Thanks Lazaro and Dennis! Awesome guest! Oh and thanks a lot of the recipe too!

  5. Hi Lazaro

    thanks so much for having me on LC, it is a privilege to appear on your site. I hope your readers enjoy my post!!

    All the Best!

  6. OMG anything with a crust gets my immediate attention, and the low calorie dimension of the squash gives us permission to indulge in this wrapping so luscious! GO LAZARO! Anita

  7. Very healthy looking Crostata. Love making these and Chef Dennis you really got one that is perfect for a healthy start of the this filling! Great post Lazaro!

  8. Lazaro, you picked one of my very FAVORITE blogger friends!!! Dennis is fabulous and I want him to move to NC and work in our schools- I've been begging for months!
    xoxo Pattie

  9. This what a fellow food blogger would call a "transitional food" A food that bridges us from one season to another. This is a beautiful leap from summer to autumn.

    I love the flavor combination in this mixture. I am not a bit surprised that this was devoured in no time.

  10. Thanks Lazaro and Chef Dennis. I am a shameless admirer of both of you and hang on to your every post. Uh, I'm still always on the lookout for squash blossoms! This looks so fall delicious that I can hardly wait to get to our farmers' market on Saturday. I plan to fill the basement with fall and winter squash, sweet potatoes and onions.

    Happy autumn!


  11. Oh I love the inclusion of pistachios in this recipe! This looks perfect to make for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks!

  12. I've been looking at the picture trying to figure out what exactly gave the crust that funky, gorgeous color. I knew it couldn't wholly be because of the wheat bread. You know me; try to get the answer before getting to the answer. Balsamic vinegar? In the crust? I love the idea.

    As per usual, I love your filling. The squash, dried fruit and nut combination screams of all good things Autumn. I imagine eating this on the deck with a sweater on and golden leaves falling around me.

    Thank you Lazaro for allowing Chef to work in your kitchen for the day, and thank you Chef for introducing me to another great cook.

  13. A beautiful rustic savory crostata! I love the addition of pistachios in both the crust and the filling!

  14. WOW Dennis...this is inspired! Beautiful and a perfect fall dish. Great post and let me just say thAT I agree with Lazaro about your blog and your squash blossom addiction as well. Thanks again Lazaro for choosing another fantastic guest to add to your blog.

  15. Dennis,
    This sounds great. I'm going to try it with some of the fall vegetables I pick up at the market this weekend. Love your posts.

  16. a wonderful rustic crostata ,full of flavours!

  17. Thanks Lazaro and Chef Dennis for another great guest post! Chef Dennis, your crostata looks absolutely delicious and very unique with the pistachio and dried cranberry additions. It's perfect for this time of year and I love the rustic appeal. Way to go!

  18. Ah, my comment was deleted =(
    Anyways, congrats to CD for being featured on cbsnews! And lovely crostata :)

  19. That is a serious good eat! Chef Dennis is an inspiration to all of us. I love this crostata!

  20. I would love to be your neighbor, hahah!!! Sure evereything you pass around at a bbq gets devoured, right? Great post.

  21. What a beautiful and rustic savory tart! Great flavors, and healthy, too - I can see why it was devoured (can't believe that anything you cook isnt). Wish I lived down the road! Thanks for a fabulous guest post, Lazaro and Dennis.

  22. It's really beautiful and I have all of those growing in my garden, lucky me! Thanks for the terrific recipe, Chef Dennis is the best!

  23. Thanks Lazaro for another wonderful installment to your weekly guest post series. Chef Dennis, the use of pistachio nuts with their color, flavor and texture in the crust and filling is such a satisfying compliment to the squash in your tart. It doesn't surprise me that your tart was gobbled up by the dinner party guests:)

  24. Woo hoo now I know what to do with my squash bounty from the garden!

  25. Wow that looks beautiful! All the squash are coming in in my area too. I'll be making this with a gluten-free crust this weekend! Thanks for such a lovely post!

  26. Like I said on Chef Dennis's blog, it was great to see two of my favorite bloggers in one place today! As much as I love summer, I'm so ready for fall especially now that all of these delicious fall dishes are starting to pop up everywhere. This lovely crostata is filled with all things fabulously fall! I love the addition of the white raisins and cranberries.

  27. never tried this dish before. but it sure does look appealing to me :) wanna try it at least once to see if i like it :)

    have a wonderful day !!!
    jen @

  28. I love that Chef Dennis has "a serious, and a bit alarming, zucchini blossom addiction". That made me laugh :) It is great, and what is even better is that his picture includes these zucchini blossoms!

  29. I made something very similar to this as a veggie option for a Thanksgiving dinner I hosted a few years ago. It went over very well!

  30. Your work on guest post spotlight has paid off Laz! Everyone loves it.

    Chef Dennis is a master of squash! :) The medley is a clever idea and it's perfect for fall. The pastry dough sounds appetizing with pistachio in it. Great work guys!

  31. Great guest post Chef Dennis! I'm doing my blog reading backwards and read your blog first. (I read magazines backwards too). This dish looks fantastic! So hearty and full of flavor! I can see why it didn't last long!

  32. Smashing squash crostada, Dennis! And a mouth-watering photo.

  33. Great dish Dennis! Lazaro, you picked a great guest poster, I love Dennis and his blog. This dish certainly doesn't disappoint!

  34. great guest post, love chef dennis and wow what a wonderful crostata, i love his addiction to squash blossoms...i know the felling..

    I'm working on my drink, thanks for pushing it back..

  35. this is RIGHT up my alley! I'm totally sold with the fall squash wrapped in a warm dough :)

  36. This is a wonderful recipe...savory, sweet and rustic.

  37. Absolutely nice Crostata amazing! Thanks Dennis and Lázaro by this great post! gloria

  38. Beautiful Crostata, Chef Dennis! You always impress me with your festive and seasonal recipes (and of course, no post would be complete without a squash blossom appearance ;) ). Lazaro, thanks for featuring such an inspiring blogger!

  39. You are really featuring my favorite bloggers lately! Chef Dennis is always a favorite of mine, especially with our mutual squash obsessions. This looks fabulous!

  40. This crostata just screams "autumn"! I enjoy Chef Dennis' blog and this recipe is the best example of why. Great dish!

  41. What a wondeful fall recipe, combining all flavors
    and colors of the season in a delightful crostata!
    Thank you for a wonderful post.

  42. Looks beautiful and rustic for the fall.

  43. This looks like a delicious rustic, juices running down the chin type of meal to eat with very close friends. I could dive in now! Fall in pastry. YUM!

  44. Awesome work.
    Have a great weekend ♥

  45. I just LOVE Chef Dennis. He's so down-to-earth and personable! This crostata looks fantastic! The addition of dried fruit and pistachios to the squash is completely brilliant!

  46. Gorgeous guest post! I love the addition of raisins and dried cranberries to the crostata for a bit of sweetness...brilliant!

  47. Hello,

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  48. Dennis, how great! This is very lovely. :)

  49. I always love Chef Dennis' creations and his dedication to his work. I am a regular stalker of his great recipes, its like more of a "What's for Dinner chef?" Thanks for sharing this wonderful and rustic dish....

  50. Ah! I love it... the crostada looks delicious and I love seeing two of my favorite bloggers in one place. Great job Chef Dennis! And Lazaro... as always: fantastic! :)

  51. I think this would be so perfect to wrap in foil and take camping with us and just warm up in a skillet - heaven! Chef D you never cease to warm our hearts!

  52. What a great idea, I love this with the squash. Thank you so much Chef Dennis, and thank you Lazaro for introducing us!

  53. Bahhhh Chef Dennis! I need recipes like this- my new job is teaching children to cook. I love it!!! I need to incorporate more veggies into our meals, so this one rocks!!!! Thanks for sharing and thanks Lazaro!


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