What I'm Bringing to the Party: Roasted Butternut Squash Phyllo Cups

In addition to the sweet salted caramel cheesecake bites I brought to this past weekend's Halloween party, I also brought along a savory treat. I had a butternut squash languishing in our pantry, so I knew I wanted to do something that involved roasted squash. Last Christmas's butternut squash lasagna rolls were a huge hit, so I decided to work from that dish's butternut squash filling to make an hors d'oeuvre. With that decision made, I opted to make things a little bit simpler for myself by using pre-made phyllo cups as the container for my roasted butternut squash filling.

Roasting the butternut squash is the most time-consuming part of this recipe; you can definitely do this part ahead of time and refrigerate the pureed squash until you're ready to use it. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Phyllo Cups (printer-friendly version)
makes 15 servings

1 cup roasted butternut squash purée (see below for roasting instructions)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, chopped fine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-2 teaspoon crumbled fried sage leaves (3-4 fresh sage leaves)
1 package mini phyllo cups, thawed (I used Athens brand)

To roast the butternut squash:
1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, browned

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silpat. Set aside.
Peel the butternut squash and cut in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into 1" cubes.
2. Place the squash cubes into a shallow bowl. Add in the browned butter and toss to combine.
3. Spread the squash cubes onto the prepped baking sheet.
4. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until tender, flipping the cubes once or twice while cooking.
5. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
6. Once cooled, purée the squash in a food processor. (Alternately, you could use a potato masher or blender for this step.) Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container overnight. Note: this recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of roasted butternut squash purée; extra could be used in a pie or bread recipe.

To make the filling and bake the phyllo cups:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the phyllo cups on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the pureed butternut squash, salt, pepper, nutmeg, chopped almonds, and Parmesan.
3. Spoon the filling into the phyllo cups. Fill each cup completely.
4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. (The phyllo cups are pre-baked; this step just warms the filling.)
5. While the phyllo cups are baking, fry the sage leaves: heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the sage leaves and fry until crisp, about 1 minute. Remove the leaves from the pan and place on a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Once cooled, gently crumble the leaves with your fingers.
6. After the phyllo cups have baked, remove them from the oven. Sprinkle crumbled sage leaves over each phyllo cup. Serve warm or at room temperature.