Butternut Squash Fritters! These delicious, bite-sized fritters are taken to the next level by two Italian classics: Grana Padano Cheese and Prosciutto di San Daniele. An elegant appetizer to share with cocktails for entertaining or a special occasion or for a stay at home happy hour.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Icons of European Taste.
I know some people consider a fancy steak dinner or a rich pasta dish the ultimate special occasion food, but I'm not among them. Skip the mains and give me a selection of appetizers and charcuterie, and I'm one happy girl. I love nothing more than nibbling on delectable little bites, and these Butternut Squash Fritters are no exception.
Crisp fritters made with earthy butternut squash are elevated with the addition of two mouthwatering extras: Grana Padano Cheese and Proscuitto di San Daniele. The European Icons add rich flavor and a touch of sophistication to this simple, delicious appetizer.
Grana Padano Cheese
Grana Padano cheese is a raw cow's milk cheese, made in a very specific region -- the Po River Valley of Northern Italy. A long-standing tradition dating back to the Cistercian Monks in the Middle Ages, the making of Grana Padano cheese has become part of the culture of the area and follows strict guidelines set forth by the Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano to maintain the integrity of the product.
The hard, seasoned cheese is crafted into large cylinders with a distinctive firm, straw-colored rind. The cheese itself is mildly grainy in texture with a pleasant, nutty flavor. It is naturally lactose free!
Genuine Grana Padano cheese is easily recognized by its marks of origin, so be on the lookout for the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) branding on the rind -- if it's not marked, it's not Grana Padano!
Prosciutto di San Daniele
Made exclusively in -- you guessed it, San Daniele, Italy -- this rosy-red cured ham is made with only 3, all-natural "ingredients": Italian pork, sea salt, and fresh San Daniele air!
Similarly to Grana Padano cheese, Prosciutto di San Daniele has been recognized by the European Union as a Protected Designation of Origin product, and has distinct brand markings that make it easy to spot and authenticate. The special pressing process, which allows the salt to penetrate the meat, also gives the product its characteristic guitar shape before it is shaved into thin slices.
Ingredients for Fritters
Fritters are actually a very simple thing to make, and quite versatile, too. Just a handful of ingredients are needed for these butternut squash fritters:
- Butternut squash (shredded on a box grater)
- Grana Padano cheese
- Sea Salt
- Oil for pan frying
- Prosciutto di San Daniele for topping
Don't be afraid to experiment with other vegetables like beets, parsnips or carrots. Zucchini fritters would be wonderful, too, but make sure to squeeze excess moisture before mixing into the batter.
How to Make Fritters
Butternut squash fritters are about as easy to make as a batch of pancakes. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and the prosciutto in a bowl, and mix to combine. You'll have a lumpy batter.
Next scoop the batter by the tablespoonful (I like using my spring-loaded cookie scoop for the job) into a large skillet with a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Use a fork or the back of a spatula to pat the fritters down into flattened circles.
Cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes per side. They should be cooked through, lightly golden and the butternut squash shreds should be tender when they're done. To keep them warm while you make the next batch, I recommend placing the cooked fritters on a foil-lined baking pan in a 300 degree oven.
All that's left to do is plate! When you're ready to serve the fritters, top with a thin slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele and an extra sprinkle of Grana Padano cheese. These make a beautiful accompaniment to a good glass of wine!
More Italian Appetizers
Need more ideas for your Italian appetizer spread? Here are a few more sumptous recipes featuring Proscuitto di San Daniele & Grana Padano cheese!
- Chickpea Meatballs & San Daniele Ham
- Pasta Omelets with San Daniele Ham
- Caramelized Port Pears & Grana Padano Bruschetta
- Grana Padano Puff Pastry Pinwheels
Butternut Squash Fritters
- Spatula or mixing spoon
- Spring-loaded cookie or ice cream scoop
- Large skillet
- 2 cups shredded butternut squash see notes
- ½ cup grated Grana Padano cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- olive oil for frying
- 7 slices Prosciutto di San Daniele cut in half
- In a large bowl, stir together shredded butternut squash, grated cheese, egg, garlic, flour and salt. Mix until well-combined.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. (I like to spray the pan using my oil mister, but you can also simply add oil to pan and swirl to coat.) When hot, scoop the butternut squash mixture by the heaping tablespoon into the pan. Using a fork or spatula, pat each fritter down into a patty.
- Cook the fritters for about 2-3 minutes per side until they're set and no longer wet in the middle. The butternut squash shreds should soften and become tender. Continue until you've used all the mixture.
- Remove from the skillet and plate by adding a piece of prosciutto on top of each fritter and garnishing with a sprinkle of grated cheese if desired. Serve hot or warm.
- To shred butternut squash: Peel butternut squash. Chop the "neck" off and reserve the bottom half for another use. Using a shredded, carefully shred until you have 2 cups of shredded squash. You may also use the shredder setting on food processor if you have one.
- This recipe makes about 14 "appetizer-sized" butternut squash fritters, but you can also use a larger ice cream scoop and make entree-sized ones if you prefer. You should be able to get about 5-6 larger fritters out of the mixture.
- To keep fritters warm before serving, you can place them on a foil-lined baking pan in a 300 degree oven while you cook the other batches.