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Friday, October 12, 2007

Butternut Squash Toasts

This should have been the first recipe I put up. Every single time I make it, someone asks me for the recipe. Which ends up being embarrassing, because I have to admit that it's basically the simplest, easiest thing in the world.

At the beginning of the summer, I was in the grocery store shopping for ingredients for a dinner party, and I realized that all I had as appetizers was cheese, bread, and nuts. I wanted something a little more special that required very little extra work. So, I thought I'd make an extra dip. And what better base to use than butternut squash? It's incredibly healthy, and one of my absolute favorite vegetables. The recipe has now evolved into a spead for appetizer toasts, but you could also serve the dip alone.

You could use fresh squash in this recipe, but it would be a huge hassle without much added benefit (plus, it would require a decent food processor, which I have but hate to use because it's a pain to clean). Frozen squash tastes great, and since it's frozen at the peak of freshness, it's often actually more nutritious than the fresh foods you buy in the grocery store, which may have been in transit for days or weeks. Unfortunately, frozen butternut squash is only available as a puree, so it's fine for soups and dips, but if you want roasted squash, you need to use fresh.

It's also fat free! So you don't even have to feel guilty if your guests go home and you polish off the leftovers...

Butternut Squash Toasts

4 multigrain rolls*
10 oz box of frozen butternut squash
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 tsp salt (use regular salt, not sea salt, for this recipe, otherwise it can be grainy)
Pinch of ground pepper
1-2 Radicchio leaves

1. Microwave squash for approximately 5 minutes, stirring once
2. Spoon squash into a mixing bowl, add sour cream, salt and pepper
3. Slice each roll into slices approximately 1/4" thich and toast on "light" setting (this should create about 20 slices)
4. Finely dice radicchio leaves as small as you can -- 1/8" at largest
5. Spread one heaping tablespoon of squash spread onto each toast, garnish with radicchio, and serve.

*You want the kind where you can see all the grains and seeds in the bread -- they're worth going to a bakery for if they're not available in your grocery store. But, if you don't feel like it, baguette slices would be fine too.

You could also serve just the squash portion as a stand-alone dip. It goes well with pretzels, bread slices, or carrots and sliced peppers.

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