Pear and Fontina Grilled Cheese
with butternut squash soup
Adding fresh fruit to a grilled cheese sandwich makes it feel a bit fancy, but this one couldn't be easier. We like mild, quick-melting fontina cheese with the pears in this sandwich, but use another mild cheese if you prefer. Butternut squash soup on the side makes this a comforting meal that the whole family will love.
Roasted Butternut Squash (for 2 nights):
- Butternut squash - 4 lbs , peeled and cubed
- Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
Butternut Squash Soup:
- Ginger - 1/2 tsp , grated
- Shallots - 2 cloves , diced
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Sage, fresh - 4 leaves
- Brown sugar - 1/2 tsp
- Cumin - 1/8 tsp
- Nutmeg, ground (opt) - 1/8 tsp
- Roasted Butternut Squash (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
- Stock, any type - 2 1/2 cups
- Yogurt, plain or Greek - 1/4 cup
Pear and Fontina Grilled Cheese:
- Pears - 2 , thinly sliced
- Butter - 2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp
- Sandwich bread - 8 slices
- Cheese, fontina - 4 slices (sub Swiss, provolone, or brie)
- Butternut squash / Ginger / Shallots - Prep as directed. Store squash in one container. Combine ginger and shallots in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Roast butternut squash - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Heat oven to 425F / 218C degrees. Toss butternut squash with oil (portion for squash) and some salt and pepper. Spread butternut squash out onto a sheet pan. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until golden and caramelized. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Pears - Thinly slice pears.
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- Heat a saucepan with oil (portion for soup) over medium heat. Add ginger, shallots, and sage. Saute until shallots are very tender and sage is very dark and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. (Note: It is important to cook the sage until very tender to remove bitterness that is present in the raw herb.)
- Add brown sugar, cumin, and nutmeg. Saute for 1 minute.
- Add half of the roasted butternut squash (reserve remaining half) and stock. Bring soup to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes to let the squash get very soft and the flavors come together.
- While soup is simmering, heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Melt first portion of butter in the pan and add half the bread. Top with cheese, pear slices (in a single layer), and remaining bread slices. Cook on one side until golden brown.
- Add second portion of butter to pan and flip sandwiches with a spatula, moving them around to coat them in the butter. Continue cooking until golden brown on the second side.
- While sandwiches are cooking, blend soup until smooth using an immersion blender or standing blender. Taste soup and season with some salt and pepper. If it is very thick, you can thin it out a bit with some water.
- Serve soup with a spoonful of yogurt on top and sandwiches on the side. Enjoy!