It was my turn to host book club, and because the book sucked I wanted to make it up to my friends by cooking a delicious dinner. Seriously - who thought a million reviews could all be so wrong? Anyway, when plotting my menu, I was particularly inspired by the "Book Club and Beyond" chapter in @howsweeteats’s #ThePrettyDish When I saw "Butternut Squash Queso" I knew I had to make it, and also decided to make my entire menu fall theme just based on this one appetizer. Sometimes you just need a little inspiration...and my inspiration is lots and lots of melted cheese.
Everyone loved it! Highly recommend it for a football viewing party or Friendsgiving or whatever your fall-obsessed heart desires. A note: you'll notice the video doesn't end with adding cheese....that's because I forgot to hit record. I'm sorry. Just imagine two hands adding mounds of cheese and squash puree for an additional 10 seconds. As long as you can read the recipe, you know what to do.
Butternut Squash Queso - adapted from The Pretty Dish
Serves 8 - 10
2.5 lbs of butternut squash
4 tbs olive oil, divided
3/4 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp pepper, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 jalapeno, chopped
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 minced garlic cloves
1.5 cups half and half, divided
1 tbs cornstarch
16 oz sharp white cheddar, grated
16 oz monterey jack, grated
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a baking dish, toss butternut squash in 3 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and garlic powder. Bake 30 minutes, flipping once to make sure the squash roasts on all sides.
Blend the squash and any remaining drippings in a food processor. Set aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat the remaining tbs of olive oil over medium. Stir in the jalapeno, garlic, and onion, cooking 5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add in 1 cup of half and half slowly. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup half and half with 1 tbs of cornstarch and stir to make a slurry. Stir into the mixture and cook until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add the cheeses, a handful at a time, letting them melt in between. Add the squash and whisk to combine. Serve warm with tortilla chips.