I have a love/hate relationship with butternut squash. I love eating it. But every time I perch one on my cutting board to peel, I think to myself: today will finally be the day when I call Charlie from the emergency room having just accidentally amputated a finger.
Not having to peel any gourds is just one of the many reasons to love this cheesy, warm butternut squash dip. But it may be the biggest revelation.
After taking on the ambitious task of adding butternut squash to my Thanksgiving stuffing this year (for 40 people), I pretty much thought my hands would never return to their pre-leprosy state. All the peeling left my paws looking as orange and opaque as the outside of a carrot. I considered myself in butternut squash retirement for the season.
That was, until I realized I could just roast the whole damn thing.
Though I’m a longtime butternut squash soup lover, I somehow always took the scenic route (i.e. peeling, cubing, roasting) instead of just doing the cooking equivalent of Waze and taking the far more direct, painless, sensible path. This is very unlike me. In the kitchen, as on the road, I’m a much bigger fan of the easy way than what so and so’s grandmother has been doing for decades. So it’s crazy that I hadn’t adopted this butternut squash halve-and-then-roast short cut until now.
Once you bake the squash for 45 minutes or so, until fork tender, you simply scoop out the flesh and stir it together with some garlic and herbs. Since it’s the holidayz and this dip is meant to be shared with your slightly more hedonistic friends, I mixed in a little crème fraiche. You can use mayo instead if you’re looking to cut down on the dairy. Similarly, you can omit the cheese. But the nutty gruyere and pistachio topping is well worth the added calories and potential lactose bloat, in my humble opinion.
Wishing you all a merry merry whatever, and hope that this easy butternut squash dip makes an appearance on your coffee table! At least you won’t require Santa to buy you a new pair of mittens to hide your hands afterwards.
Warm Butternut Squash Dip with Gruyere and Pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rub with olive oil and salt and arrange cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a fork easily slides in and out of the non-hallow half.
- When cool enough to touch, scoop out the squash flesh and reserve in a bowl. Stir in the garlic, mayo or crème fraiche, ¾ cup cheese, cayenne and parsley. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary (you’ll probably need ½ teaspoon). Transfer to an oven safe ramekin or casserole and top with the remaining cheese and nuts.
- Bake until the cheese is melted (be careful not to burn the nuts), about 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately with gluten-free crackers or baguette rounds.