Love me some bruschetta. It is versatile and can create a fusion of Italian flavors with other cuisines. My absolute favorite contribution to bruschetta is butternut squash. As I am sure you know, I wish butternut squash was in season all year long (see Bacon & Butternut Soup). As cinnamon and sage are a great compliment to Butternut Squash, goat cheese is as well. The last ingredient of this dish was inspired by a puréed butternut squash app at Charlatan Chicago: balsamic glaze.
I have never tried to make balsamic reduction before but I am obsessed. It is super simple to make and heightens the sweet-tartness of an appetizer. There are so many foods I could pair it with: burrata and crackers, pork tacos and caramelized onion pastries to start. I wish I could start trying these combos right now, but I have to share this bruschetta first as you won’t believe how delish the combo is. And fan-cy!
The Jolly Hostess twist this week mixes traditional bruschetta with goat cheese toast and/or crostini. I love that toast and crostini are taking over the world and I hope this version gets rave reviews as well. The next best thing?: so easy to assemble! Perfect for an appetizer, snack or entrée side.
2 cups 1/4″ chopped butternut squash – check out my post on How To Peel Butternut Squash, in case you missed it. If short on time, Trader Joe’s has precut butternut squash!
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 tsp butter
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 oz goat cheese
1 tbsp skim milk
4 sage leaves, 2 minced and 2 cut in small pieces for topping
1 medium-sized italian baguette, sliced in 1/2″ pieces
Makes 18 pieces; Prep Time: 15 mins; Cook Time: 35 mins
*Prepped this appetizer in the lovely Allana Bytes’ kitchen.
Set oven to 375 degrees.
Chop butternut squash. Put 1 tsp olive oil in medium-sized skillet and add squash. Add a dash of salt and pepper and cook until tender, should take 10-12 mins. You can continue to work on other steps of the recipe, but remember to keeping checking these little guys.
Reduce your balsamic, by bringing to a boil, then set on low heat and simmer until thick, about 10 mins. The balsamic glaze is ready when it coats the back of your spoon. Set aside.
Slice bread in 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with light olive oil and bake for about 10 mins, until toasted.
Now, to caramelization! Slice onion. Add butter to skillet (I use the same one the butternut squash cooked in) on low medium heat. Add onions and cook slowly, stirring frequently. If onions start to burn too much turn down heat. Onion should take 15 mins to caramelize. Set aside.
I know you are now managing the butternut squash, bread, balsamic vinegar and caramelized onion all at one time, but you can do it. Have a swig of champagne for good measure and you’ve got it.
Moving along, please take note of the herb tool that I cannot live without! My ZYLISS FastCut Herb Mincer. Herbs that would have taken a long time to mince are done in minutes. It is one of the best tools to cut down time in the kitchen for the busy hostess.
Mince and cut sage.
Mix goat cheese, caramelized onion, milk and minced sage in a small bowl. The mixture is done when creamy.
Assemble your bruschettas:
- Top bread with goat cheese mixture
- Butternut squash
- Balsamic glaze
If you are packing this appetizer to a party, bring your sliced bread with you, toast the bread in the hostess’ oven and assemble from there. I did this in Allana’s kitchen and it was perfect timing to enjoy champagne before the bread was warmed.
If you make this recipe and post on social media, please tag #thejollyhostess for a chance to be featured.