This rustic gratin is the perfect beginning to a simple autumn supper. It's also a great choice for a holiday meal because you can make it ahead and bake it at the last minute. Substitute long island cheese squash or buttercup in place of butternut.
Butternut Squash Gratin
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup
- Parmesan Bread Crumbs (recipe follows), about ½ cup
- 1 large butternut squash, about 2½ pounds, cut in ¾-inch cubes, 5 to 6 cups
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup half and half
Directions (bread crumbs)
Melt the butter in a small sauté pan; add the bread crumbs and toast over medium heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool and toss in a small bowl with the cheese.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Make the Parmesan Bread Crumbs and set aside. Place the squash in a large bowl and toss with the garlic, butter, flour, salt, and a couple of pinches of pepper. Butter a small baking dish and spoon the mixture into it. Pour the half and half over, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmesan bread crumbs evenly over the top and continue to bake, uncovered, until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Test for doneness with a paring knife or skewer; the squash should be completely tender. Let the gratin sit for a few minutes before serving.
Tip: Butternut squash loses its moisture towards the end of its season, so if you're making the gratin in late winter, increase the half and half to ¾ cup.
Everyday Greens, Annie Somerville