Unlikely Pair: Squash & Cheese (Recipe)

An unlikely pair is sneaking its way into this season's recipes: squash & cheese. With the extensive varities of both, the pairing possibilities are endless. Whether it's butternut or acorn, mozzarella or swiss, this duo will keep us drooling all winter long!

Below are some tasty grilled cheese, squash-infused recipes, a favorite of the fall and winter holiday season. Enjoy!

This quesadilla has three cheeses in it: the Parmesan lends a nuttiness and crunchiness to the exterior, the Gruyère gives it a seductive creaminess, and the blue cheese provides a pungent contrast to the sweet squash. It's a hearty combination that is perfect of autumn when butternut squash makes its annual debut.

Makes 4 quesadillas

Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Quesadilla, Photo by Maren Caruso Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Quesadilla, Photo by Maren Caruso

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled, seeded, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large (9- to 10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (or use Emmentaler or Fontina)
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage (or use 2 teaspoons dried sage)
  • Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the squash: Cut each squash half crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, resembling half moons. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the pieces over halfway through, or until the squash feels soft when pierced with a fork and the slices are slightly caramelized. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, mash the butter and Parmesan together.

To assemble : Spread the Parmesan butter on one side of each tortilla and place them on your work surface, buttered side down. Place 6 slices of squash on the bottom half of each tortilla followed by the Gruyère, blue cheese, and sage. Fold the tortillas in half to enclose the filling, forming a half moon. (You may have extra squash slices; save for another use or enjoy them as a snack.)

Stovetop method: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place two of the quesadillas in the skillet, cover, and cook for 2 minutes or until undersides are golden brown. Watch carefully, as the Parmesan butter can burn easily. Uncover, and turn the quesadillas with a spatula. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has melted completely. Repeat with the remaining 2 quesadillas. Cut the quesadillas in half, and serve immediately.

Sandwich maker method : Preheat the sandwich maker (if your machine has adjustable heat, set it to medium). Follow directions for quesadilla assembly. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese has melted completely. Watch carefully, as the Parmesan butter can burn easily. Unless you have a very large sandwich maker, you will have to cook the quesadillas in batches.

Gas grill method : Brush the grill rack with oil and preheat the grill to medium. Follow directions for quesadilla assembly. Put the quesadillas on the grill and follow directions for the stovetop method.

Click here for more of Laura's delicious squash & cheese recipes.

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About the Author:

Laura WerlinLaura WerlinLaura Werlin is one of the country's foremost authorities on cheese. She is the award-winning author of five books on the subject, is a sought-after speaker and spokesperson for consumer and trade organizations and is a frequent television and radio guest. View author profile


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