‘Tis the season to be weird.
It’s like… how many things can I make with butternut squash that probably shouldn’t be made with butternut squash before you hate me?
I’m testing the limits.
By the way, happy Monday. We’re eating nachos.
So, I’m freaking out. Usually by the time, like by November 1st, I can fully be on board with the “holiday season.” The years change and sometimes I’m all “give me all of the Christmas music in the land” the day after Halloween, and other times I am in full blown Thanksgiving mode until the end of this month. It differs, and since Thanksgiving is probably tied for my favorite holiday I like to give it the time it deserves.
BUT. This year? What the heck. Isn’t is still July? I almost had a heartichoke when I realized last Friday that it is now November and that it’s technically the holiday season. I am so not in that mode at all and it’s actually depressing me because it makes me feel old. Old old old.
Let’s stress each nachos to feel better. Cool? Cool.
I can easily say that I’ve already bought more squash this fall than I bought last year total. I am in a major squash infatuation and have been simply roasting it for lunch or dinner, as a side or main meal, even as a freaking snack with maybe… some coconut butter. Who am I? It just tastes so good because it tastes like I’m eating a big fat harvest candle. You know what I mean. The epitome of autumn.
It’s no secret that I’m all about the squash and cheese combos, especially fontina because fontina is just heaven sent in my eyes. But the mushrooms? Oh my gosh. The freaking mushrooms. For some reason these just take this flavor mix over the edge. Plus, these aren’t any old mushrooms. They are garlic butter mushrooms. Garlic butter!!
Meaning nothing other that I cooked them in garlic and butter. But whatever. Still fantastic.
When I was in Utah a few weeks ago, Heidi made this lasagna and my mind was blown. Butternut lasagnas are not new to me, in fact they are one of my favorite fall dishes. But these mushrooms totally completed the feast. The marriage of all that squash and cheese and shiitakes (which my mom hilariously pronounces as shit-takes, not on purpose) makes for one heck of a dinner.
I’ve been craving that like mad ever since I got home. In fact, I’m probably going to make a big pan of it this afternoon so we can have some for dinner and throughout the end of the week. Darn, darn good.
In the meantime, I took the lazy way and threw all this junk on top of some tortilla chips and broiled it until bubbly and melty. Nachos are definitely a favorite of mine (still sporting some 1989-microwaved-chips-and-cheese every now and then) and it should come as no surprised that it has to do with all the texture.
Well, that and the cheese. I might actually turn into a brick of cheese someday. Eh, wait, I’d rather turn into a wheel instead of a brick. Sounds much more flattering. And I actually just wrote “fattering” by accident. Probably not by accident. How appropriate.
This is also the first time I’ve busted out my favorite little fuzzy herb this season and I believe that we are in it for the long haul now. I adore sage in all it’s weird and delicious glory. I obviously prefer it crispy but, uh, hello. Do you know who you’re talking to here?
I finished the whole thing off with a big drizzle of balsamic glaze. It fit perfectly since the squash is a little sweet but it also provides a nice tart punch that leaned me towards devouring the whole pan.
But now that would just be embarrassing.
Spiced Butternut Squash, Garlic Butter Mushroom and Fontina Nachos with Crispy Sage
Yield: serves 4 appropriately, 2 obnoxiously
Total Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
a pinch of cardamom
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
8 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
6 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly grated
12 to 15 fresh sage leaves
sour cream or greek yogurt
balsamic glaze for drizzling
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped squash to the skillet and season it with the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom, tossing well. Cover and cook until the squash is just fork tender, stirring once or twice, about 10 minutes. Remove the squash from the skillet and set it aside in a bowl.
In the same skillet, add another 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots and garlic, stirring well and cook for 2 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon of the butter and once it's melted, add in the mushrooms, stirring to coat. Cook until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in a pinch of salt and pepper. Scoop the mushrooms into another bowl and set them aside for a minute.
In the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once it's melted and sizzling, drop in the sage leaves and cook for about 30 sections per side. Remove the leaves and place them on a paper towel until ready to use.
Preheat the broil in you over to the highest setting. I like to assemble the nacho by layering half of the chips, a handful of cheese, some squash, mushrooms, another handful of cheese, and so on until I have 2 or 3 layers. This way it's all cheesy! Pop the nachos in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the cheese melts and is bubbly and golden. Top with the sage leaves. Serve immediately with sour cream/yogurt and a drizzle of balsamic glaze if desired.
Can you even? Ah. So good.