An autumnal riff on traditional nachos, these have all the elements that make nachos so hard to stop eating- like crunchy corn chips and lots of cheese- but with creamy chipotle butternut squash and vinegary caramelized onions in lieu of salsa and refried beans. They may even be harder to stop eating than traditional nachos! I use a mix of Monterey Jack, the classic nacho cheese, and Fontina Val D’Aosta, a mild and nutty Italian cheese. It might seem like an odd combo but the two complement each other nicely and bring together the savory, sweet and spicy elements of the dish. These are great for a big group or to bring to a party- just assemble the layers at home and then pop the pan into the oven for a few minutes when you arrive!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the squash on a sheet pan, add 2 tbs olive oil, the cinnamon and ½ tsp salt and toss lightly with your hands. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until tender, tossing twice during cooking with a metal spatula so the cubes brown evenly. Set aside the squash and the pan.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs of the butter and 2 tbs of the olive oil in a large (12”) sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cover for 10 minutes to let them steam. Remove the lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and golden brown. If the onions are cooking too fast, lower the heat. Add the vinegar and ½ tsp salt and cook for 2 more minutes, scraping the brown bits from the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the cooked squash in the bowl of a food processor (or powerful blender such as a Vitamix.) Add the chipotle pepper, maple syrup, chicken broth, remaining 2 tbs butter, and 1/2 tsp salt and process until smooth. If the puree seems very thick (this will depend on the size of your squash) add an additional 1/4 cup chicken stock.
Assemble the nachos:
Spread one layer of chips onto the sheet pan you used to roast the squash. Spoon half the squash mixture on top, distributing it as evenly as you can. Spoon half the caramelized onions on top, followed by half the Fontina and half the Monterey Jack. Repeat with remaining chips, squash, onions and cheese to make one more layer. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is beginning to brown at the edges.
Sprinkle with the avocado and pepitas and serve immediately.
I do recipe testing and social media for Ina and love to cook for my friends on the weekend. Ina has given me lots of tips for easy cooking and entertaining, and I'm excited to share them with you here!