Rye and pumpernickel slices are toasted until golden and then topped with tangy Gorgonzola cheese spread. Brown sugar-glazed butternut squash gives the crostini a sweet bite, while fried rosemary and walnuts offer crunch. Pomegranate arils add a tart finish and a jeweled appearance for holiday tables.
This weekend’s blog posts had an accidental theme: cheesy appetizers! I’ve really been enjoying cooking up all kinds of small party bites and planning for upcoming holiday events. Everyone who tasted these crostini fell in love with them. The flavors and textures are so varied, yet they harmonize so well. I’m not sure there’s ever been more flavor per square inch on a slice of bread!
Butternut squash can be a bit difficult to cut and peel for roasting, so you’ll find some advice in the recipe to make it easier. You’ll only need about 1 1/4 cups of the cooked squash, so you may have some left over. We had some left over so we fed it to my elderly dog Churro. He’s so adorably weird because he loves fruit and vegetables, unlike Biscuit who is a meat and cheese guy (I digress).
You may use choose whatever bread slices or loaves you like best. A baguette would work well and be extra-crusty, or you could use rye and pumpernickel as shown here. I really liked how the vivid orange butternut squash presented on the dark pumpernickel.
How pretty are those pomegranate arils? I think this makes the crostini look dressed up for the holidays, and it gives them a tart finish. This is so nice with the sweet, mellow, butternut squash.
This recipe makes 20-ish crostini, which is plenty to go around! You could even cut the slices into toast points if you require more servings.
We loved these, and I hope you will too!
Butternut-Blue Cheese Crostini
- 1 small butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 small loaves 16 oz. /450g each rye and pumpernickel bread
- 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 1/3 cups 164 grams Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 3/4 cup 110 grams coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup 22 grams whole rosemary leaves
- 1/2 cup 75 grams pomegranate arils for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the squash: Wash and carefully cut off the stem and base ends of a whole butternut squash in half lengthwise. Dig the seeds and membranes out with a large sturdy spoon. Remove skin from halves with a sharp knife. Note: Butternut squash are firm and can be hard to cut! Microwave halves for about three minutes to soften and loosen the skin for easier and safer peeling! Place halves face down in a baking dish or roasting pan; pour water into dish around squash about 1/2 inch deep. Cover with foil and roast for an hour or until fork tender. Let cool and chop into small cubes.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butternut squash cubes and sprinkle with brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir together using a spatula (squash will be very soft!). When all of the cubes are coated and heated through, remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- Toast the bread: Place 1/4-inch slices of bread on parchment lined baking sheets and drizzle all slices evenly with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the rye bread is visibly well-toasted and the pumpernickel feels firm and dry on top. Set aside.
- Fry the walnuts and rosemary: Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, and a single rosemary leaf sizzles immediately when you add it to the oil, stir in all of the rosemary leaves and chopped walnuts. Cook stirring frequently until the nuts darken and the rosemary is crisp and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour onto a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle immediately with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Prepare the Gorgonzola spread: Using the same pan over medium low heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil, then add minced garlic. Stir frequently and cook just until garlic begins to turn golden. Remove from heat and let cool; set aside.
- In a food processor, combine Gorgonzola, minced garlic, cream cheese and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Puree until mixture is whipped and smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl so that all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
- Assemble the crostini: Evenly spread the cheese mixture onto the toasted bread slices, then add equal amounts of cubed butternut squash. Top each crostini with pan fried walnuts and rosemary. Garnish with pomegranate arils just before serving.