If you are unfamiliar with The Lost Kitchen, Erin French's postcard-reservation-only restaurant in Freedom, Maine, this recipe is a window into her style of cooking. She cooks only with seasonally appropriate and locally sourced ingredients and puts her heart and soul into a menu that looks as good as it tastes. Her home-cooking inspired recipes are uncomplicated, but packed with nuance. While not exactly as Ms. French may have dreamt it up, this roasted squash recipe has it all: palate pleasing velvety smoothness from the pumpkin and ricotta cheese, crunchy tart apple flavor, and a classic maple syrup pairing drizzled over the top. It makes for a fabulous, room temperature Thanksgiving side dish, but is also tasty served right from the oven alongside a roasted chicken for a splendid fall and winter easy week night meal. We used the WT Barrel-Aged Bourbon and Rye Maple Syrup for a bit of added sophistication, but ordinary maple syrup is mighty fine.
cuisine American
difficulty Easy
season Fall & Winter
serves 6 to 8


  • 2 acorn squash, quartered, seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
  • 8 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons ricotta
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1 small handful baby arugula
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Maple syrup, warmed
  • Sea salt flakes, for finishing


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (use convection if setting available).
  2. Evenly divide the butter among the squash boats. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar and season each boat with the ground nutmeg, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a fork is easily inserted into the deepest part of the squash.
  3. Combine the shallot and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl. Let macerate.
  4. Slice the apples into matchsticks (use a hand held mandoline if you have one) and toss the apples and the thyme into the vinaigrette along with a tablespoon of maple syrup.
  5. Place a smear of ricotta down the center of each squash boat, top with a few argula leaves, and a generous heap of apple slaw. 
  6. Tableside, just before serving, drizzle the maple syrup over each boat. 
  7. Finish with a flourish of sea salt flakes.