Every recipe I share with you has some sort of story. Sometimes it’s the story of an old family recipe, other times it’s a brand new story still in the making. This one is an in-between-story recipe. When I was a newlywed, I catered an open house during the holidays. (I mention that time period a lot because it was a pivotal moment for me in my culinary development.) I made a bunch of appetizers for the open house and many of the recipes I made have since become yearly holiday traditions at our house. I think I’ve shared quite a few of the recipes I made for the open house already, but this is one for Roasted Butternut Squash Dip is one I’ve neglected to share. Neglected is definitely the right word – forgive me! It’s one of my favorite dips (or spreads) and is insanely popular whenever I make it. People raved about it at that open house and I was sort of stunned that they loved it so much. It was definitely one of the most popular items on the buffet table. The recipe is so, so simple – it’s one of those really good, basic kinds of recipes that you don’t really think much of, but then you taste it and it’s suddenly the greatest thing ever. It’s the simplicity of using good, seasonal the ingredients that makes it so wonderful.
I have long since misplaced the original recipe and can’t for the life of me find it on Epicurious.com where I originally found it. I’ve made a few changes here and there – adding a few of my own touches – and it’s become my own recipe now. I’m pretty sure I upped the goat cheese to butternut ratio too. (Of course I did.) Fresh rosemary and nutmeg perfectly compliment the squash and goat cheese.
It starts with diced butternut squash that is roasted at high heat so the natural sugars really caramelize and become extra sweet. I let the squash cool a bit, then place it in my food processor with fresh goat cheese, finely minced fresh rosemary, freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. It’s thick and creamy – perfect for dipping and spreading.It’s also fantastic on sandwiches, and I’ve also toyed with the idea of using it as a pasta sauce because that would be magical. (I did make a similar pasta sauce recipe awhile back that is all sorts of incredible, so I think it would work just fine.)
The dip is fantastic warm. I’ve even put the dip in a gratin dish, topped it with chopped nuts, and baked it. Oh.so.good. But normally I just serve the dip with crackers or sliced bread, dried fruit, and nuts. Last week I ordered a bunch of gluten-free baked goods from Mariposa in The Bay Area. One thing I added to my cart was a box of gluten-free herbed crackers, which are essentially thinly sliced baguettes toasted to crispy perfection, and just the right thing to eat with the butternut squash dip. But really, after I took these pictures, you know I was dipping those pecan halves into the dip and enjoying every single one, right? Yep. Pecan after tasty pecan. And a few more herb crackers.
Now, if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, and I know there are some of you out there (I am not judging you, but I am sad because it’s just so good!), then you can substitute cream cheese, extra thick yogurt, or even creme fraiche would work, I’m sure. Just know that if you make this and take it to your next holiday party, people will be bowing down to you. That is all.
December is one of my favorite months for seasonal cooking and baking and I love seeing what our #EatSeasonal team has come up with this month to share. So many good recipes made with squash, Brussels sprouts, pomegranate, and leafy greens. YUM. Click on the image below to see what’s in season for December over on The Vintage Mixer.
Brussels with Candied Nuts by Oh Sweet Basil
Sweet Potato Kale Coconut Curry Soup by Kitchen Confidante
Pomegranate Martini by Foodie Crush
Kale and Collard Green Gratin by Vintage Mixer
Orange Cranberry Bread by Two Peas and Their Pod
Brussels Sprouts and Gruyere Quiche by Completely Delicious
Winter Squash Tamale Pie with Harissa by Climbing Grier’s Mountain
Butternut Squash Casserole with Sausage and Sage Breadcrumbs by The Law Student’s Wife
Dixie Salad with Pomegranates by Bless the Mess
Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash & Endive Salad by Project Domestication
- 2 teaspoons avocado or other high-heat oil
- 16 ounces diced butternut squash
- 4-5 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss butternut squash with oil and arrange in an even layer on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Place cooled squash, goat cheese, rosemary, and nutmeg into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Puree until smooth. Taste and add salt, if needed, and pepper.