Last week, we mentioned spring rolls as a possible holiday appetizer that can please a wide variety of eaters. But since spring is several cold and snowy months away (at least here in the Midwest), we thought we'd try a more seasonal variation.
We weren't quite sure how much heat the serrano peppers would pack, so we were cautious and used only one for the sauce. It ended up being too mild for our tastes, hence the addition of Sriracha. It added a hint of garlic flavor, which we liked.
Butternut Squash "Winter" Rolls with Spicy Cranberry Sauce Makes 12 rolls
For the rolls: 1 small butternut squash 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 oz rice noodles 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios 12 rice paper wrappers
For the sauce: 1 cup whole, fresh cranberries 1 1/2 cups cold water 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and minced 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste (optional)
Preheat oven to 400. Slice squash into 12 strips that are approximately 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches long. Toss with olive oil and bake until softened, 20-25 minutes. (Remaining squash can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated or roasted and refrigerated.)
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
Bring cranberries, water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and lime juice and simmer for another 10 minutes until sauce has reduced. Remove from heat. Add hot sauce if desired. Set aside.
Allow cooked squash to cool before handling. Assemble remaining roll ingredients and fill a wide, shallow bowl (or cake pan) with hot water to soften the wrappers. Dip a wrapper in the water for about 30 seconds before assembling each roll.
Lay the wrapper flat on your work surface. Spread about 2 tablespoons of noodles onto the wrapper. Top with a slice of squash, toward the center and then finish rolling toward you. Repeat for remaining rolls. Serve with dipping sauce.
If you're not serving the rolls immediately, cover them with a damp paper towel until you're ready to serve them. Rolls should not be made more than a couple of hours before serving as they tend to fall apart.
We served these rolls at a recent potluck dinner we hosted and didn't have time to get a nice photo, but luckily one of our guests did. Thanks, Gemma!