Butternut Squash Flatbread with Sausage and Caramelized Onions
My roommate and I typically throw two big annual shindigs: Cinco de Mayo and Logena Christmas.
I love them both dearly—and it feels wrong to pick a favorite—but if we’re being honest, I’ve always sliiightly preferred the holiday celebration. Not only does it let me tap into my inner Buddy the Elf, but it also happens to require much less “preparation” than May’s fiesta. After all, my apartment is essentially Gimbels from Thanksgiving weekend through New Years, I don’t have to curate a playlist (Mariah Carey Christmas exists for a reason, people), and champagne punch saves my wrists from the carpal tunnel-inducing exercise of squeezing one thousand limes for margaritas. HALLELUJAH.
Logena Xmas also provides an excellent stage to unveil a new cozy finger food recipe to my friends, which is obviously thrilling for a weird blog lady. Past debuts have included Beef Tenderloin Crostini (which now makes regular appearances at gatherings large and small), Brie and Candied Bacon Grilled Cheese Bites, and Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Quesadillas, all of which garnered many a Christmas compliment.
I love compliments.
Logena Christmas is taking a forced hiatus this year due to the Dude Diet Dinnertime photo shoot, so unfortunately for my real life friends, 2018’s holiday finger food option shall be an online exclusive.
Are you ready?
Please allow me to present the outrageously delicious and crowd-pleasing Butternut Squash Flatbread with Sausage and Caramelized Onions!
Topped with a warmly spiced roasted butternut squash mash, plenty of browned chicken sausage, maple-tinged caramelized onions, melted Fontina, and fresh sage, this flatbread is a sweet, savory, winter-y wonderland of flavor and texture. And since the flatbread can be fully assembled up to a day in advance, it’s an entertainer’s dream appetizer. Just pop it in the oven for 10 minutes just before your guests arrive, slice it into bite-size squares or “fingers,” and you’re good to go. You can continue baking the flatbreads throughout the party to keep something hot in the finger food rotation, but they also taste great at room temp, so it’s absolutely fine to leave them sitting out during a soirée.
As always, you do you when it comes to this flatbread. I love Fontina for its nuttiness and melting capacity, but feel free to play with your favorite cheeses—Gruyère is great if you want something with a little extra oomph, goat cheese is fun if you dig tang, and fresh mozzarella is a nice mellow choice. If you don’t do sausage, bacon or pancetta would be equally delightful, or ditch the meat altogether and keep things vegetarian. Thyme is great for those not fussy on sage, as is basil if you prefer a hit of herbal freshness.
Yes, this flatbread was created with holiday partying in mind, but don’t hesitate to serve it as a meal. Despite its decadence, it’s actually quite the Dude Diet-friendly dinner option with a big old side salad. My roommate crushed it a few weeks ago and gave it two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
- 6 cups cubed butternut squash about one small butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ pound sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage casings removed
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 1/3 cups grated Fontina cheese
- 4 whole grain naan or flatbread of your choice
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (for easy cleanup).
Place the cubed squash on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and plenty of salt and black pepper. Toss to coat. Spread the squash in an even layer. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Once you’ve removed the squash from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces with a spatula, or until lightly browned. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to the stove. Reduce the heat to medium, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion and cook for about 20 minutes or until very soft and lightly caramelized. (If the onions start to dry out at any point, add a splash of water to the pan.) Add the vinegar and maple syrup and cook for about 2 minutes or until the liquids are absorbed.
Transfer the roasted squash to a mixing bowl and roughly mash with a fork. (You don’t want it to be completely smooth—a few chunks are great for texture.) Taste and season with a little extra salt and pepper if needed.
Assemble your flatbreads! Place 2 pieces of naan onto each of two large baking sheets. Brush each flatbread with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Spread each with a relatively even layer of the butternut mash. Sprinkle with half the cheese, then top with the caramelized onions and sausage. Top with the remaining cheese and fresh sage. Bake the pizzas for 8 to 10 minutes at 425°F or until the cheese is melted and the flatbreads have crisped and browned on the undersides.
Slice each flatbread into 8-16 pieces (depending on your size preference). Serve warm or at room temperature.
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