I started to think. The list considered included a couple asian inspired dishes, but I was craving a hearty fall dish. I kept going back to parmesan. Parmesan is rich in glutamate. When paired with protein, rich in IMP, a taste receptor party happens. You don’t need to know the science-y details just that parmesan (glutamate) + chicken (IMP) = deliciousness (umami). My first instinct was risotto. All that creamy pasta cooked with chicken broth and finished with parmesan. I moved on to chicken pot pie and recalled a fall-ish version on smitten kitchen. For a second, I thought Parmesan Risotto POT PIE! I apologize for that, I took it to far. I concluded that adding parmesan to the crust and stuffing the inside with butternut squash and sage was the answer. The squash will be sweeter and the sauce perceptibly creamier all due to that umami combination.
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 oz). cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 1 egg, for wash
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 1/3 lb pancetta, diced
- 3-4 TBSP butter
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- “a handful” of chopped sage
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
Make the crust: Mix the flour, parmesan, and salt in a bowl. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, fork, or your hands until it resembles cornmeal.* Slowly add the water, 1-2 TBSP at a time, until the dough comes together. Press into one or two disks and store in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap.**
- Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
- Toss the butternut squash with 1 TBSP of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon.
- Add 3 TBSP butter to the pan. Once melted in with the drippings, add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, 7-8 minutes then add sage, stir to combine. Salt and pepper chicken then add to pan. Cook until chicken is white on all sides. Add roasted butternut squash to the pan.
- If there is not visible oil shimmering in the pan add an additional TBSP of butter to the pan. Stir in 3/4 cup flour.
- Add chicken broth slowly at first, 1/2 cup at first then gradually in larger increments, stirring after each addition. Bring to a simmer and let thicken until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Assemble pot pies: Roll out dough. Spoon filling into bowls or casserole dish, leaving 1-2 inches of space at the top of the bowl. Cut circles of dough, approximately 2″ wider in radius than your bowl. Drape tops over bowls or casserole dish. Wash crust with one beaten egg mixed with 1 tsp water. Bake approximately 40 minutes.***
*I like to freeze my butter for 10-15 minutes before mixing it into the dough
**Crust is enough for 6 individual portions or 1-2 larger portion based on your casserole size
***Place a baking sheet to catch drippings under the pot pies