Friday, December 30, 2011

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Fennel & Blue Cheese Tartlets

Tartletts so easy and delicious yet it looks like you slaved for hours!  The squash mixture can be made a day ahead and the phyllo shells can be filled hours before your guests arrive.  They're great right out of the oven or at room temperature.

Squash, Fennel and Blue Cheese Tartlets
1 medium butternut squash
olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 small bulb fennel, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs
1/2 to 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 boxes (1.9 oz. ea.) mini phyllo shells

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush  baking pan with olive oil; set aside.
Cut squash lengthwise in have; scrape out seeds.  Place cut sides down on oiled baking pan.  Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until very tender tender. 

Meanwhile, In large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat and cook onion, fennel and ½ teaspoon salt 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and caramelized, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.

Scrape flesh from squash; In medium bowl mash squash and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, brown sugar, sage, figs and salt. Stir in fennel mixture and blue cheese. Place mixture in pastry big fitted with very large star tip.
Arrange phyllo shells on baking sheet.  Evenly pipe squash mixture into shells. Bake 8 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 48 appetizers

This also makes a great side dish.  Omit pastry shells and spoon mixture into a large casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until heated through.

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