Have you ever come across a recipe that you have to make, IMMEDIATELY? Like, the entire world is going to be incomplete until THAT recipe has found it’s way from the computer scene (it’s 2011 after all), into your oven, and then into your mouth??

That’s precisely what happened when I saw this savory cheesecake. Come on though, it is a SAVORY cheesecake, and we know how my little heart just loves those.

Minor dilemma. I had almost none of the ingredients in Jenn’s recipe. So I improvised. I’ve been wanting to make a cheesecake with cottage cheese for awhile, ever since my cottage cheese cake disaster, I’ve been itching to use blended cottage cheese in other ways. I’m happy to report my results were fantastic!!!! Cottage cheese really might be one of my new go-to recipe ingredients. It can be used in place of ricotta in a lasagna, or in place of cream cheese in cheesecake, along with a bazillion other uses. I mean seriously, what’s not to love about that? Why use it in place of those things? 1. If it’s the only thing you have in the fridge, you gotta make due. 2. It can help lower the fat/calories in a dish.

If you’ve never pureed cottage cheese, I’m telling you, REALLY, Go, NOW, go do it. It’s a treat! Some friends were over for a last minute brunch and I blended up cottage cheese, put it in a bowl w/ a little drizzle of honey and used it to dip peaches in. I thought they were going to bury their heads in the bowl and lick it clean. And of course, they WERE self professed cottage cheese haters. Ha, I laugh in the face of cottage cheese haters. I’ll convert you.

As for the butternut squash, well, it’s basically leftover baby food. I home make all of Wave’s baby food, and when I need a vegetable or fruit puree, BAM, got it! It comes in quite handy actually. You can easily replace the butternut squash with pumpkin or sweet potato. In fact, this is a great way to use up those leftover few tablespoons of pumpkin you have at the bottom of your lonely can sitting in the fridge.

Speaking of baby food, and Wave, wanna see a couple recent pictures?

Trying to get her to sit still, smile AND keep the sign right side up. Nope, not happening.

She’s staring at Jon, he was probably dancing to Ke$ha, his guilty music pleasure. Haha, I sold ya out.

And this is Halloween. I KNOW I hate it, and I do. But for Christmas my brother got this strawberry thingy. I don’t know if it’s a zip up blanket or a costume or what. But we zipped her inside of it, took a few pictures and called it a day. She thought it was a fun game.

Butternut Squash Pesto Cheesecake
Makes 1 mini cheesecake using a 4 inch springform pan.
You could also make this in a small casserole dish and use it as a dip if you don’t have a small springform pan

Ingredients
1 cup cottage cheese ( I used low fat), room temperature
1/3 cup shredded parmesan, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tbsp pesto (1 tbsp IN the cheesecake, the other swirled on top)
1/4 tsp salt (more/less to taste)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced garlic (about 1/2 a clove)
3 heaping tablespoons of pureed butternut squash
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp butter, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line your springform pan with parchment paper or tin foil. Spray with non stick spray.

Mix the bread crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Dump into the spring form pan and press onto the bottom, and slightly up the sides. Set aside.

Puree the cottage cheese in your food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the parmesan, garlic salt, pepper, egg and butternut squash. Pulse to gently mix.
*If you don’t have a food processor, a blender works too.

Pour 1/2 of the cheesecake mixture into the pan, add 1 tbsp of the pesto and swirl. Pour the remaining cheesecake into the pan, then top with the remaining pesto and swirl.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the edges are slightly golden and is it jiggles a little in the middle when you shake it. Turn off the oven, crack the oven door and leave the cheesecake IN THE OVEN to cool down for an hour.

Cool on the counter to room temperature then chill the cheesecake until you’re ready to serve it. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving to allow the flavors to really come together. Run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the pan.

The cheesecake can chill in the fridge for up to 3 days before serving. It can also be frozen and thawed for a later time. It’s a great make ahead appetizer for parties!

Serve it with a cheese knife and crackers or sliced baguette. It’s like a dip or spread.