Maple Squash & Homemade Ricotta Sandwich: arugula, chives, truffle oil + A Food Photography Workshop






Maple Squash & Homemade Ricotta Sandwich with Arugula & Truffle OilSometimes its refreshing to explore someone else’s food creations.  No thinking, just following a recipe, measuring, mixing, baking, and out comes a perfectly baked cake or a tested and true kitchen staple.  I decided to go this route for a recent food photography workshop I took with the very talented Christie Graham: an easy,  go-to sandwich I have been addicted to lately with the addition of Ashley Rodriguez’s homemade ricotta, as well the “Grapefruit and Olive Oil Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate” from Ashley’s new cookbook “Date Night In”.  I have been craving grapefruit recently, so this choice seemed like a no-brainer. 

 Maple Squash and Homemade Ricotta Cheese Sandwich with arugula and truffle oil

Maple Squash and Homemade Ricotta Sandwich with Arugula and Truffle Oil

Date Night In

grapefruit and olive oil cakes with bittersweet chocolate from "Date Night In"

I finally received my very own copy of Ashley’s “Date Night In” a week ago and feverishly opened the package to find this beautiful blue cookbook, chock full of recipes, stories, sentiment, and Ashley’s time and love over the past few years.  I was so excited to dive right in; I even tagged numerous pages to come back to!  May I just say, “Well done, Ashley”! I met Ashley and her husband last year and Ashley has become somewhat of a mentor to me.  I was so proud and excited to get this cookbook and read a bit more into their life, their date nights, and the food that brings them together week after week.  As the workshop date approached, I knew I had to try and do “Date Night In” a bit of justice.  

The one-on-one workshop was eye-opening; I was so grateful for this time with Christie! I was in shock that this very talented photographer was only 25 and had been photographing for over 10 years! The little touches she brought to the workshop made all the difference: various goodies like a custom-made camera strap and lots of tips specifically compiled for “Love & Garnish”.  The morning flew by as we chatted all things photography and business, sipped tea, collaborated on food styling, practiced photography, and devoured our squash and ricotta sandwiches! 

Christie Graham Food Photography Workshop

Our model for the day was a simple sandwich of maple roasted squash, homemade, creamy ricotta, and crisp, peppery arugula, drizzled with the distinct, rich flavor of truffle oil.  Why have I never made my own ricotta cheese before?! Its so amazingly simple and so gratifying!  Christie and I shot our sandwich, eagerly awaiting the moment when we could dive in, taking huge bites out of the soft, fresh chia bun in order to garner a few “process” shots.   In reality, we were starving and couldn’t wait to dive into this sandwich! I think I have eaten this 4 times in the last 10 days; its so simple, yet so complex with the various textures and flavours….I’m in love! 

Maple Squash & Homemade Ricotta Sandwich with Arugula and Truffle OilHomemade Ricotta and Chives details

Maple Squash and Homemade Ricotta Sandwich with Arugula and Truffle Oil

We ran out of time to photograph the grapefruit and olive oil cakes, but I was so excited to put into practice the things I had learned in the workshop, that I took some time a few days later to photograph them on my own.  They were so delicious it was hard not to eat them while photographing!  The grapefruit was subtle yet essential for the unique flavor of the cake.   If I were you, I would buy Ashley’s cookbook just for this one recipe!  

Date Night In grapefruit and olive oil cakes with bittersweet chocolate

Date Night In Cookbook: Grapefruit and Olive Oil Cake with Bittersweet ChocolateDate Night In: Grapefruit and Olive Oil CAke with Bittersweet Chocolate

Until you receive your copy of “Date Night In”, I hope you enjoy my sandwich with Ashely’s ricotta; even if your a meat-eater, you’ll want to make this one over and over again! 







Maple Squash & Homemade Ricotta Sandwich: arugula, chives, & truffle oil
Serves 4
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Ricotta Cheese*
  1. (or use organic, store-bought)
  2. 4 cups organic whole milk
  3. 2 cups organic heavy cream
  4. 3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 4 Tablespoons fresh chopped chives
  1. 1 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced into chunks
  2. 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  3. 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 6 sage leaves
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  1. 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1-2 Tablespoons white truffle oil
  3. 1 1/2 cups arugula
  4. 4 whole grain buns of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
Prepare the ricotta cheese
  1. Line a sieve or colander with two layers of cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the milk and cream and set over medium heat. Warm the milk and cream just to a gentle boil and then turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and give the while pot a soft stir. Curds will begin to form immediately, so you don't want to disturb them too much with stirring.
  3. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes. At this point, you should see the curds and whey separating. Gently pour the mixture onto the sieve and allow the whey to drain until the ricotta has reached the consistency you like. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
  4. Place the ricotta in a bowl and stir in the salt and chives. Place in the fridge. It will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Prepare the squash
  1. Mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, and sage leaves. Crush the sage leaves into the oil and syrup mixture a bit to release the flavour. Toss the squash pieces with the oil and syrup mixture, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover with parchment paper and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Check for doneness and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, depending on the size of your squash pieces. Set aside.
Arrange the sandwiches
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of the truffle oil. I prefer more truffle oil, but start with 1 Tablespoon, taste the mixture, then add more if you prefer. Layer the buns with the ricotta cheese, butternut squash, and arugula; drizzle with the truffle oil. Enjoy!
  1. *Recipe from "Date Night In" by Ashley Rodriguez: Yields 2 1/2 cups
Love & Garnish — A Nourishing Kitchen
  • Brooke @ Chocolate & Marrow - I just got my copy of DNI this week, too! I’m still trying to decide which recipe to do for the blog, but I’m leaning towards a cake 😉

    Also, these sandwiches look amazing! Homemade ricotta is one of my favorite things to cook on lazy weekends. I’ll have to give these a try soon!ReplyCancel

    • Love & Garnish - It was a toss up for me between some of her Italian recipes and the Kale with prosciutto dressing! So many good ones!! Maybe one day you and I will have cookbooks and we’ll be cooking from each others book!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - As soon as I saw your sandwich, I knew I wanted to make it this weekend. The photos are beautiful, very well done. I actually found your blog by following Christie’s instagram and I’m so glad I did!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Pienaar - Anise, these images are amazing! The food looks so delicious.ReplyCancel

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