Butternut Squash Queso Fundido

– 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds), halved and seeded – ½ teaspoon salt – 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil – 1 large sweet onion, sliced – 1 tablespoon chili powder – ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper

INGREDIENTS

– 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded – 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded – ⅔ cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa, drained – 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro – 2 tablespoons toasted pepita

Lay squash cut-side down on pan. Bake 50–60 minutes till soft. Rotate and cool gently. Add salt to a food processor with the flesh.   

DIRECTIONS

Puree till smooth. Reserve any remaining squash for another use and measure 2 cups of purée. Set aside.  

Mix oil and onion in a medium pot. Cover and stir often for 10 minutes over medium heat. Uncover and simmer until the onion is extremely soft and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes more,

decreasing the heat and adding 1 tablespoon of water if it browns too quickly. Add chile powder and chipotle (or cayenne). Cover and wait 10 minutes after removing from heat.  

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees after squash is done. Coat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.  

Mix Cheddar and Monterey Jack in a big bowl. Reserve squash puree and add 1 cup cheese. Spread half the remaining cheese in the pan. Put squash on top.  

Cover squash with half the caramelized onions. Top with remaining cheese and onions.  

Bake for 20 minutes to melt and bubble the cheese. Allow 10 minutes to cool. Add salsa, cilantro, and pepitas.  

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