Butternut Bruschetta with Caramelized Onions

INGREDIENTS
 
  • 4 cups (1-inch cubes) peeled butternut squash (about 20 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 thin baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices on the diagonal
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, cut into chiffonade
 
PROCEDURE
 
Stack the mint leaves as evenly as you can. Roll the stack tightly so it resembles a cigar. Slice the roll crosswise into very thin slices and pull apart the slices into strips.
 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
 
Spread butternut squash on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook for 25 to 30 minutes until fork tender. While roasting, turn with a spatula every 10 minutes and add more olive oil if needed. Remove from oven and increase heat to 425 degrees.
 
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt. Let cook until very soft and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Add maple syrup and red pepper, and let cook 1 minute more.
 
Combine squash, onion mixture and vinegar in a food processor and pulse about 12 times until mixture comes together but is slightly chunky. Season to taste.
 
Place bread slices on a large baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake 5 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Top bread with butternut squash mixture and drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle with fresh mint and serve while still warm.

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