sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

Archive for December, 2012

Battle of the Appetizers

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 12, 2012

This past weekend I went to a party where everyone brought an appetizer. I wanted to share new flavours (and stand out) so I took the opportunity to try out an idea that has been floating around my head.

I called them Butternut Squash and Pancetta Empanadas:

Butternut Squash and Pancetta Empanadas

Butternut Squash and Pancetta Empanadas

I put them out at the party and waited for some reactions. I’d say they were a success: by the end of the night, they were all gone – despite the crowded table with plenty of other appetizer choices. I even heard someone say they ate three and were telling others to try them.

At the party, I called my creation “empanadas” but after reading this article, I think “hand pies” might be a more appropriate name. 

Below is my “recipe” for you to try. The amount of the each ingredient isn’t defined – just keep tasting. There should be enough pancetta to taste, but not to overpower the fresh garlic and thyme.  Next time I’d use a regular pastry, rather than puff, but I’m not sure if you can buy it frozen at the store.

Butternut Squash mixture


  • Butternut Squash
  • Pancetta, diced (you can buy it in a small “slab” or pre-diced in the deli section)
  • Onion, diced
  • Hot pepper (optional), finely chopped
  • Fresh Garlic, minced
  • Fresh Thyme, finely chopped
  • Puff Pastry


  1. Roast the butternut squash in the oven and then shred with a fork.
  2. Saute the pancetta with the onion and hot pepper.
  3. Mix the butternut squash, pancetta, onions and hot peppers with garlic and thyme.
  4. Lay out sheets of puff pastry and cut out circles (I used a cup) about 4” wide. Drop a rounded tablespoon of filling in each circle, fold over in half and press to seal. As you can see from my photo, about half of my pastries opened up while baking but I think this had a neat look to it as well.
  5. Bake until golden.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »