The flavors in this caramelized onion, ricotta, and roasted squash bruschetta just scream fall, and I thought it would make a perfect Thanksgiving appetizer. To help save valuable oven real estate on Thanksgiving, you can make the ingredients ahead, and just assemble the bruschetta and heat before serving.
If you’re thinking “Caramelize onions? Who has time for that?” I’m here to tell you that you can do it while you sleep. Literally. My friend the slow cooker comes to the rescue yet again. Throw a big pile of sliced onions in the pot, add a bit of olive oil, and go to sleep, and when you wake up, your house will smell like onions, BUT you’ll have a big pile of delicious caramelized onions. You can freeze the extras, and have caramelized onions on-demand!
I used the wood serving board I made in some of these photos, and it’s made me want to make more as Christmas gifts.
No matter what you cook, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Caramelized Onion + Roasted Squash Bruschetta Appetizer
Caramelize the onions:
8 yellow or white onions, thinly sliced (I had mine sliced in no time with this mandoline)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or melted butter
Place the sliced onions in the slow cooker, and toss with olive oil to coat. Turn the slow cooker on low, and cook for at least 10 hours. Stir, check for browning, and continue cooking for up to 4-5 hours more until the onions are dark brown and caramelized. If there is still a lot of liquid at this point, you can take the lid off and let some of the extra liquid cook off, but be sure to watch closely and stir often to make sure the onions don’t burn.
If preparing ahead of time, let onions cool, and refrigerate. Extra onions can divided into smaller portions and frozen for approximately 3 months.
Roast the squash:
Small winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes, seeds reserved
1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss squash cubes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned. Stir after 20 minutes, and check for doneness every 10 minutes after. Remove from oven and cool. If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate.
Roast the seeds:
Winter squash seeds, washed and separated from squash flesh
Dash of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp dried sage
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Dry squash seeds, then place in a bowl and toss with olive oil, dried sage, and salt. Place on a small baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
Assemble the bruschetta:
French or Italian baguette or ciabatta bread, sliced about 1/4″ thick
Roasted squash cubes
Roasted squash seeds
Pepper, freshly ground
Sprig of fresh sage, roughly torn
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place bread slices on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Spread bread slices with ricotta cheese, then top with caramelized onions and roasted squash cubes. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven, and top with fresh sage, squash seeds, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.