We eat a lot of winter squash throughout the fall and winter, and although my favorite way to prepare it is to simply roast it in a hot oven, from time to time I want to try something new. One easy way to create an elegant vegetable side dish is to mix vegetables with some creamy béchamel sauce, then top with a crumb and cheese topping before you pop it into the oven. I usually partially cook my vegetables first, particularly very hard vegetables such as winter squash, which ensures everything will be perfectly cooked when you take your dish from the oven.
You can either buy your squash already peeled and cut into pieces, or easily do it yourself at home. I find it easiest to use a very sharp knife and cut the squash into quarters first. I then use a sharp knife and peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and fleshy membranes, then cut the squash into 1 inch pieces.
Deborah Mele 2012
Butternut Squash Gratin
Creamy squash dish topped with a cheesy crumb crust.
- 4 Cups Butternut Squash, Cut Into 1 Inch Pieces
- 1 Cup Sweet Onion, Finely Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Recipe Bechamel Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Cup Panko (or breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley
- Salt & Pepper
- Heat oven to 350°F. and butter an 8-inch baking dish, round or square.
- In a medium pot, cover squash with cold water, place a lid on top and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once water comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook squash for about 15 min. or until just fork tender.
- Rinse under cold water; drain.
- In a bowl, mix the squash with the béchamel, onions, and 1/2 cup grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- Scoop the squash into the prepared dish and use a spoon to spread evenly.
- In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper, then sprinkle it over the top of the squash.
- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and brown.
- Let rest at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.