I can not believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I feel like the school year just started. Where does time go? I have begun to brainstorm my menu for our Thanksgiving feast, as we generally host for a small group of family. This fabulous butternut squash gratin will definitely be a new addition to the table this year!
I got the recipe for this dish when I recently took a cooking class at Froggy’s Restaurant in Highwood, IL. The topic that night was ‘squash’, pretty appropriate for fall. My friend and I have gone to quite a few of these classes and just love them. Chef Terry cooks in front of us, describing the ingredients and telling stories in his heavy French accent. We diligently take notes and get to dine on the 4-5 course meal he just cooked…paired with wine, naturally. It makes for a lovely girls’ night out!
This butternut squash gratin recipe is a variation from one I got at that class. It is so absolutely delicious…rich, cheesy, sweet and salty and all made with nourishing ingredients, of course. And, with the option to serve it in individual baby pumpkins, it could be the perfect accompaniment to the Thanksgiving table.
When I first made it at home as a trial run for the big day, my husband declared it THE BEST THANKSGIVING SIDE he has ever tasted! Wow! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!
Here’s the recipe for Butternut Squash Gratin:
First you peel, seed and slice your butternut squash.
Heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the squash and the garlic. Cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine. 5 minutes later add the cream. Cover (I just used foil over my cast iron skillet) and cook until butternut squash is tender. Be sure to stir occasionally. If you need more liquid, you can add more cream.
Stir in parmesan cheese and mash with a potato masher. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour squash mixture into an oiled 8×8 baking dish. Cover with pieces of prosciutto. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. (or broil on high for few minutes until prosciutto is a little crispy).
Optional serving idea:
Serve in baby pumpkins. Poach baby pumpkins in salted water for 5-15 minutes. This is just to make it a tad easier to cut the tops off of the pumpkins. Do not overcook! The purpose of this is just to be able to remove the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.
Remove tops, scoop out seeds and pulp. Overfill pumpkins with squash mixture, lining the edge with a small piece of prosciutto. Put the lid back on and brush with oil. Bake for 10 minutes or so. (You could also broil for a couple minutes on high).
Recipe: Butternut Squash Gratin
Preheat oven to 375.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine (or chicken/veggie stock or water)
- 1 cup heavy cream (raw, organic if possible)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup (or more) grated or shredded parmesean cheese
- 2-4 slices of prosciutto
- Heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan. I used my cast iron.
- Add butternut squash and garlic and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- After about 10 minutes, add 1/4 cup white wine.
- Cook about 5 more minutes, then add the cream and stir. I cover at this point with a lid or foil. Be sure to continue to stir occasionally.
- When the butternut squash is tender (10-15 more minutes), stir in parmesan cheese.
- Mash the squash using a potato masher (or hand blender or food processor…however you would mash up potatoes).
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the squash mixture into a greased 8×8 dish.
- Cover the top with pieces of prosciutto.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes until edges of prosciutto are brown.
- Serve warm.
**Alternate serving option:
- Poach 6-8 baby pumpkins in salted water until a knife can just pierce the top. (Do not overcook…just softening very, very slightly so cutting is a bit easier). DO NOT OVERCOOK! or the pumpkins will crack and be mushy. You are just trying to make it a touch easier to cut off the top and scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the top of the pumpkin, reserving the ‘lid.’
- Scoop out the seeds and pulp, careful not to break the skin.
- Fill the pumpkins halfway with the squash mixture.
- Cut the prosciutto in half and line the baby pumpkin with a half slice.
- Fill the pumpkins until they are overfull.
- Top with the ‘lid’.
- Brush tops of pumpkins with oil and bake at 350 until prosciutto is crisped.
**Make ahead recommendations:
Make squash mixture and store in refrigerator. When ready to serve, take out of refrigerator to bring closer to room temp. Bake at 350-375 until warmed through.
If you serve in baby pumpkins, hollow out pumpkins ahead of time and store in refrigerator. Before serving, heat the pumpkins gently in warm water or microwave (I don’t normally recommend the microwave, but it is just to heat the pumpkins. You aren’t really eating the pumpkin, so I don’t think it is a big deal). Heat the squash mixture on the stove, then fill the pumpkins. Bake for 10 minutes until prosciutto is crisp. If you use a microwave, you could fill the pumpkins ahead of time and refrigerate. Then microwave for a minute or two before putting them in the oven. The problem with putting the whole stuffed pumpkin in the oven cold is that it will take awhile to thoroughly heat the squash mixture and your pumpkin will crack or be over cooked and soggy.
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