I like to use butternut squash for this recipe, but any nice meaty squash in season will do, as will a sweet potato. This is a great holiday treat, as an appetizer or as a side dish. It is like baking a cheesecake or pie: once you have done the assembling, it is basically done; just bake it and serve it warm.
- 1 pound butternut squash grated on the coarse holes of a box grater
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ pounds fresh ricotta, drained
- 1 cup grated Grana Padano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the squash in a medium saucepan with the milk and sugar. Simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Let it cool, then wrap the squash in a kitchen towel, and wring out any excess water. Grease a 9-inch glass pie plate with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, and tap around to line the pie plate with the crumbs, tapping out any excess.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and ricotta. Stir in the grated cheese, mint, salt, and nutmeg. Add the squash, breaking up any lumps with your fingers, and stir to incorporate into the ricotta mixture.
Spread the mixture into the pie plate, and smooth the top with a spatula. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces, and scatter on top. Sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, and bake until set, about 40 to 45 minutes. Allow the tart to cool and set on a rack for at least ½ hour before cutting into wedges to serve. Serve warm or at room temperature.