Depending which camp you’re in, fall arriving is good news or bad news. Either way, Butternut Squash Gratin is good news! Very good news. Pair the whole cheesy mess with leeks and hazelnuts and you have magic! I chose to eat this for lunch one day with a salad and then had it for dinner as a side dish. It makes about 6 servings but it can definitely be made to serve a crowd if need be. For those Canadians out there, you might even want to add this to your Thanksgiving repertoire on Oct the 14th, 2013.
I never post that much when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner here at Beyond The Peel. But here are a few recipes I like for intimate Thanksgiving dinner. This Sumac Cornish Game Hen recipe from Bon Appetit is delish and it’s become my go to fast and easy ‘turkey’. I like making game hens because they cook quickly and 1 feeds 2 people (which works our to be fairly inexpensive and the leftovers are not too much to handle). Because I’ve made this recipe several times I have a few changes I recommend. Only brine for 2 hours and cook the hens whole in the oven. Bake at 375 F for approx 20-25 minutes. Now that’s a fast ‘turkey’. I serve it with this White Bean Cauliflower Mash, the following Butternut Squash Gratin (see below) and these Paprika Spiced Green Beans and Pine Nuts. No meal is complete without a starter and this Carrot Ginger Soup is perfect for the fall. And of course, no celebratory meal is complete without chocolate in my books. And since no one wants to spend all day in the kitchen this 5 Minute Chocolate Dessert recipe is easy peasy, fast and fool proof.
Now back to cheesy butternut squash goodness…
I chose to use one very large butternut squash. I used only the top half of the squash for this recipe so that I could get 12 nice sized ’rounds’. But you could cube the whole squash and toss it in olive oil and salt and pepper and make the recipe that way too. The bottom part of the large squash can be saved for another use such as a soup. If you opt to make a soup, I recommend this one.
- 1 medium squash (or 1 large, top part only, bottom saved for soup)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Pre heat oven to 375 F. Peel and slice the squash. Cut the top portion into 1/2 inch rounds or cube. The bottom part can be sliced in half, seeds removed and diced or sliced. Brush rounds on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If using cubes, toss the whole lot with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the slices or cubes on a baking sheet and cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Butternut Squash Leek and Hazelnut Gratin
- 1 batch of roasted squash, 12 rounds or equivalent (recipe above)
- 1 leek, whites only, cleaned and sliced
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup grated Fruiliano or other mild cheese (Mozza, Gouda, Swiss, Monterey Jack)
- 1 cup heavy cream (or unflavored nut milk, for a lighter options)
- 3 Tbsp chopped chives
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup sliced hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, cook the leeks with the butter until softened, about 8 minutes. Set aside. Mix the cream with the chives, thyme and nutmeg and set aside.
Grease a 9×9 baking dish (I used a 6 x 11). Put half the squash slices (or cubes) in a single layer at the bottom of the pan. Top with half the cooked leeks and half the grated cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a final layer of squash, top with remaining leeks, followed by the cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the squash. Sprinkle with almond meal and hazelnuts. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
Serve as a meal with a tossed green salad or along side a Thanksgiving Dinner.
Recipe Note: Lighter cream or milk may curdle from the heat of the oven. Use heavy cream in this recipe or for a lighter option try an unsweetened nut milk.