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Prosciutto, Pear, and Fontina Arugula Salad with Roasted Squash and Spicy Pecans

Juicy pears pair well with rich fontina and prosciutto, peppery arugula, savory squash, spicy pecans, and maple vinaigrette dressing in this hearty salad.

Servings 4 servings
Author A Cookable Feast

Ingredients

Squash for salad:

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and with seeds and stringy guts removed
  • 1 tbs. butter, cut into smaller cubes
  • salt and pepper

Pecans:

  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I crush them with my hands to achieve this consistency.)
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Salad:

  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
  • 5 oz. arugula (About 6 cups)
  • 2 ripe pears, chopped (I used Bartlett pears.)
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1 cup cubed prepared acorn squash (Preparation instructions below)
  • toasted pecans (Preparation instructions also below)

Maple dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash halves cut-side up in an oven-safe baking dish; add cubes of butter to the hollow of each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until flesh is soft when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, cut one cup's worth of cubes roughly a half inch in diameter from the flesh of the squash. Set aside.

  2. Once the squash is done roasting, reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Toss the pecans in the melted butter, cayenne pepper, and salt and spread evenly across a baking dish or cookie sheet. Let them roast for six minutes, then remove them and stir; roast for an additional six minutes. If toasted to your liking at this point, set aside to cool; if not, return to the oven and keep checking them every few minutes until they are.

  3. Add the chopped prosciutto to a frying pan over medium heat and cook until browned (about five minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place on a plate lined with papers towels to drain any excess oil.

  4. Now it's time to assemble the salad! In a large mixing bowl, toss the arugula with the pecans, prosciutto, pear, cheese, and cubed squash.

  5. To a mason jar or other container with a lid, add the olive oil, maple syrup, and balsamic vinaigrette. Close lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined. Pour desired amount of dressing onto salad and toss well. And you're done! You have a sweet, spicy, savory, satiating salad to enjoy!