Butternut Squash Bruschetta with Sage Pesto2012-03-22
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Fall is here.
The leaves fluttering down around me when I stroll through my backyard tell me so, as does the fact that my Crepe Myrtles are beginning to wither and shiver from the lack of intense heat that keeps them happy.
I adore autumn from its weather, to it new flavors. I love to get back into jeans, hoodies and sweaters. I love to grab a quilt when we take our boat out and I snuggle under it with a good book while Mr. Wonderful fishes at the lake.
I also get excited at the change of fresh things at the market. From pie pumpkins to spaghetti squash, I love the change in flavors that awaits me in the kitchen if I only choose to create something new.
And speaking of something new, this bruschetta is delectable. It’s funny how a recipe will spring to mind one day while you’re gazing at your monstrous sage bush, wondering why you planted it…for the life of me I realized that I only use sage at Thanksgiving, when we’ve already had a freeze and my sage bush has gotten twiggy and bare. And then it dawned on me …sage pesto would be something I could make and freeze and savor all winter long.
This recipe is much simpler than it sounds. Join me in making it.
Start by cutting up four cups of butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. (Here is an easy tutorial on how to cut one of these babies up) This took me about half of a large butternut squash. Save the other half and make some Butternut Squash Bisque. It’s divine.
Dump in 2/3 of a cup of chopped walnuts.
And pour 1/4 cup of olive oil over top.
Pour one-fourth of a cup of olive oil over top of it. Then add in two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Don’t worry my friends, the vinegar won’t be overpowering and the red pepper won’t be too hot. It’ll be scrumptious and lovely and wonderful together.
Take a large spoon and toss all of this together really well. Then dump it onto a lined baking sheet.
I’m just telling you, when finished, this in itself could be a simple recipe for a side dish. I could just sit with a spoon and scrape this off the pan and into my tummy, but there is more to come.
Place this into a 400º oven for 20-30 minutes (ovens vary) or until a fork comes easily out of it when poked, and the outside begins to get all brown and carmelized and lovely.
And while that is roasting, go ahead and start the Sage Pesto.
In a food processor, combing about one to one and one-half cups of fresh sage leaves, 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Also add in one garlic clove.
Pulse a few times and then turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in olive oil until a thick paste forms. Then keep adding just a little more oil until you have a nice spreadable pesto. Spoon it into a bowl.
Next, slice up one loaf of french bread into 1/4 inch slices. Place them untouching on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil.
When your squash is done, remove it from the oven and replace it in the oven with your bread. Toast this for about 10 minutes (still on 400º). Scoop your squash into a bowl.
Sneak a couple of bites, you know, just to make sure it tastes good, like every great chef does.
Remove your toasted bread and spread a nice thin layer of your sage pesto on it.
Scoop a generous tablespoon of squash over top of this.
And dot the top with a teaspoon or so of soft goat cheese.
I used this triple creme goat brie I got from Forward Foods.
But you could use regular goat cheese from your market, and if goat cheese isn’t your thing, I think regular brie would be fabulous or even cream cheese. You could even grate a nice tangy hard cheese over top as well.
Pop your pan back into the oven for 3-4 minutes or just until the cheese melts nicely.
Oh mercy me. The flavors all meld together in autumn wonder. The savory sage pesto compliments the sweetness of the squash, and there is a slight tang that comes from the balsamic and the creamy goat cheese. It’s rounded off nicely with the crunch and earthiness of the walnuts.
This is fall all wrapped on a crunchy piece of bread. Try making this bruschetta this fall season.
Like the change in seasons, it’s always nice to change your palette as well.
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Butternut Bruschetta with Sage Pesto
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