I was pleasantly surprised to find a butternut squash in my Greenling Local Box. It’s not fall in Texas but a girl can dream, can’t she? My mind was not even prepared for a fall recipe – I’m still hung up on margaritas and guacamole and blueberries and margaritas.
I saw red onions gently nested in my cool local box container and I immediately knew what I was going to make: a Butternut Squash Bruschetta with carmelized onion goat cheese.
The first thing you have to do is cut the butternut squash. I’m not gonna lie – this is not a job for the delicate. And I…I’m delicate. If you saw a video of me cutting a butternut squash, it would be a hilarious viral YouTube video and likely material for Late Night talk show hosts.
How do I begin sous chef-ing? Not in the manner that any real chef would teach you. I’m not a real chef. I’m a person. A regular person with no guns (literally and figuratively). I start cutting it on the easier end. Cut the “skinny” side into 1/2″ disks and then dice those disks into 1″ chunks. Then you get to the hard part…the bulbous end. I tried to hint really loudly in front of my husband “real men cut butternut squash” but that didn’t work. Feel free to use that though.
So then, I slice off a sliver to give it a flat side. Then I put that flat side down on the cutting board and continue cutting disks.
Then, you’ll get to the hollow part, at which point you can start scooping the inside seeds.
Now let’s make our goat cheese. Clarification: we aren’t going to milk a goat. Greenling has local, professional farmers who do that for us, but we are going to add stuff to the goat cheese.
In a food processor, we are going to mix walnuts, goat cheese, and the carmelized onions.
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta
1 small baguette, sliced 3/4″ thick
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
10 sprigs of Thyme (from your Thyme live plant – June local box)
salt and pepper to taste
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoons local Goat Cheese (Rosa Family Farm)
1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
1. Bake the baguette slices in a toaster oven or conventional oven on 350 for 5 minutes. (I don’t put them on a tray because that would require me to turn them…and I am a fan of less work). They should barely be brown and they should yield easily to the touch. It should not shred the roof of your mouth – you know what I’m talking about. (Bruschetta ≠ Cracker). Set baguette slices aside.
2. Toss the butternut squash cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. (Here’s a how-to video on removing leaves from Thyme sprigs, if you can endure the 30 second ad in front of it). Spread the squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add the sliced onions. Cook for two minutes and then lower the heat to medium and add butter. Cook for a few more minutes. Once the onions soften and turn translucent, change the heat to Medium – Low. (I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything ever on Medium-Low, until this!) Stir frequently to prevent onions from sticking to the pan. One the color has deepened to a dark violet, you’re done! Remove from heat.
4. Mash the squash. You can add butter or olive oil to the mash, but I find it’s not necessary for the taste. (And you get to be lazier at the gym next time) Taste it for salt and pepper and season as desired.
5. Puree the goat cheese, caramelized onion, and walnuts in a food processor until smooth.
6. Assemble: Spread a layer of the goat cheese mixture on each baguette slice. Then top with a generous amount of mashed butternut squash. Garnish with Thyme leaves. Finally drizzle a little good quality extra virgin olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
Tip: The goat cheese mixture is great on grilled pizza or dolloped in soup or a salad. Is a great component for a cheese plate and perfect for crunchy breadsticks.
Tip: You don’t need to mash ALL of the squash – I reserve some of the cubes for later in the week. I do use them for pizza toppings! The leftover mash is a great side item or a soup/stew thickener.