butternut squash + caramelized onion cheese dip.

There is a crisp chill in the air that says the holidays are right around the corner, and you need this addicting, nuanced, insanely flavorful dip for all of your upcoming events! Roasted butternut squash gets mixed with sweet caramelized onions, sage (sensing a theme here at PTL?) cream cheese and cheddar to make one ridiculous dip. Bonus? It’s even better the second day.

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I found this recipe over on Serious Eats, and had it bookmarked for eons. I finally made it a few weeks ago for a party, and while absolutely delicious, it was almost too rich. Say what? It may sound sacrilegious, but I found the combination of butter, cream cheese, cheese, AND sour cream (omitted for my version below) was so incredibly rich that is overpowered the sweetness of the squash and onions. In my adaptation, we’re using neufchâtel cheese, or the 1/3 less fat cream cheese, skipping over the sour cream completely, and upping the flavor by using half sharp cheddar and half fontina.

I made it this way for a Friendsgiving, and it was a total rave. I was able to snap a few photos quickly before I left my house, but I didn’t take any of the dip at the dinner — I was too entranced by wonderful friends and a sensational table setting!  P.S. – I am so, so thankful for wonderful friends! They are absolutely the family I got to choose. ❤

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Now, I’m not going to lie. This is dip is time intensive, although the steps are simple enough, this is not something you can whip together in 20 minutes. I suggest you roast the roast while you fry the sage and then caramelize the onions. Once that’s done, you toss the vegetables in a food processor, give it a whirl, and then add in the cream cheese, cheddar, fontina, and season it up. You can store it this way in the fridge for up to 3 days before you bake it off – amazing for entertaining!

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butternut squash cheese dip.
adapted from Serious Eats. 

ingredients
3.5 pound butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, separated but not peeled
4 tablespoons butter
20 sage leaves
1 block neufchâtel cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup fontina cheese
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Nestle garlic cloves in between the squash. Roast on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or additional oil for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Once tender, remove from the oven and set aside.

While the squash is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the sage leaves. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the butter is melted and the sage leaves are crispy. Remove the sage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat to low and add the sliced onions. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for 35-40 minutes, until the onions are tender, golden brown and caramelized but not crisp, and are very fragrant. If they start to stick to the pan, add a splash of water. Once they are finished, remove from heat and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the mixing blade, add the squash, garlic (squeeze the cloves out of their paper ‘jackets’ once cool enough to handle), onions and about 2/3 of the crispy sage leaves and process until well combined. Next add in the cream cheese and process again until well combined. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Transfer the dip mixture into a small baking dish (I used an 8×8 pan here) that was sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and mix in half the fontina and cheddar into the dip and sprinkle the rest of the cheeses on top. *The dip can be stored for up to 3 days at this point*

To serve: bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until the dip is warmed through and bubbly on top. Serve warm with wheat crackers, tortilla or pita chips.

Serves 8-10.

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