We recently got a butternut squash in our bi-weekly produce box. My plan was to make a soup like I’d always done every fall, every year. I wanted to try something a little different though: something with the same flavors, plus a few surprises, that would be an easy appetizer to put together for a party. So I switched things around a bit. Blue cheese and butternut squash are meant to be, so that went into the squash purée. The crouton moved to center stage and reinvented itself as crostini. And the celery came on board to add the splash of color and a textural element this little bite needed. So this holiday season, surprise your friends and loved ones with this unexpected twist on a seasonal classic. —Callie Canlas
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a great recipe -- all of my taste-testers loved these and copied down the recipe to make for their holiday parties! The celery added crunch and helped to lighten everything up -- a great addition even though I don't usually care for it. Next time I make them, I might decrease the cheese by an ounce to let the squash shine a bit more. —LauriL
8 to 10
extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 ounces
bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
celery hearts, sliced thin
baguette, cut into half-inch slices (about 36 pieces)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 400° F
Combine squash, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Make sure all of the squash is coated in the oil. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges of the squash start to brown. Set aside.
While the squash is cooking, start the bacon in a cold pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 7 to 10 minutes until bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside. (I like to have bacon grease on hand, so I save it in the fridge for other recipes instead of throwing it out.)
In a food processor, combine roasted squash, blue cheese, and butter. Process until smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside.
Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil on high for 3 to 5 minutes, until toasted.
To assemble the crostini, spread each piece of toasted bread with about a tablespoon of the squash mixture. Top with a bit of bacon, then garnish with the celery and parsley.
The pre-cut butternut squash found in grocery stores during the holiday season can be a great time saver if you want to spend a few extra bucks.
You may end up with some extra squash mixture when all is said and done. It would make a great, easy soup if you added a cup or so of chicken stock.