These flaky little pockets of pizza dough filled with creamy ricotta cheese and savory pumpkin or butternut squash puree are an easy fall recipe your family will love. Hi, I’m Sandy. I’m so excited to share this empanada with butternut squash recipe with all of you! Sylvie was nice enough to ask me to guest post today and share one of my favorite easy fall recipes from my own blog, Everyday Southwest. I have “re-vamped” it to make it even faster and easier than the original just in time for the busy months of fall that are coming our way. I mean really… we don’t always have the time to make dough from scratch! So, I know what you are thinking, “What is the difference between an empanada and a calzone?” An empanada is a favorite street food in Mexico. The pockets of dough are filled with all kinds of fillings—ground beef, green chile pork, even dessert fillings like apple or mango. The great thing about empanadas is that they are usually smaller than a calzone and much easier to eat while walking around shopping, site seeing or just sticking them in a sack lunch for work or school. The dough of an empanada is usually flakier than a calzone and has a rich, buttery taste. I have changed my recipe to substitute frozen, uncooked dinner rolls for the traditional dough. You can also use two to three prepared pie crusts to make the empanada dough and that will give the flaky, buttery taste. If you have a little extra time, you can use a boxed pie crust mix that allows the dough to be a little thicker (like the photo above) or even us a prepared pizza dough from your grocer’s deli or freezer section. I prefer the dinner rolls when I am in a hurry because they don’t require rolling them out and cutting the dough into shape, they are the right size already. Just thaw them out, give them a pat or quick roll out with a rolling pin, and then fill them the same way as the pie crust in the recipe below. The empanadas are great fall recipe and this ricotta and squash filling make them perfect for a meatless meal. I hope you love them! Be sure to let Sylvie know how you like them. You can follow her on Facebook or leave a comment here on the blog. And, if you have any questions, you can always find me “at home” on Everyday Southwest. I hope to hear from you soon! —Sandy
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- 8 frozen, uncooked Dinner Rolls or 2 prepared pie crusts
- ⅓ cup flour
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 15oz can butternut squash or pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano or rosemary, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
- 2 eggs, divided
- 1½ cups ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Thaw 8 frozen, uncooked dinner rolls or remove the prepared pie crust from the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent then, stir in the squash or pumpkin puree and sauté until heated through. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, sprinkle with the Mexican oregano or rosemary and chile flakes.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic and chill.
- Pat each dinner roll into the shape of a disk. Roll until very thin on a floured surface. Or, cut 3 large circles out of each pie crust then, knead the scraps together and roll out 2 to 3 more.
- Place equal amounts of squash puree and ricotta mixture onto the center of each circle. Fold one half of the circle of dough over the filling and form a half moon shape. Seal the edges together by folding over the edge of the empanada and pinching together with your fingers or seal the edges together with the tines of a fork.
- Brush melted butter over the empanada. Cut 3 small holes in the top of the empanada for steam to escape.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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