Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Butternut Squash Gratin
I LOVE fall squash! In fact, I feel compelled to apologize to my Pinterest followers for pinning so many pumpkin and butternut squash recipes. This recipe is one of my recent finds, and I cooked it for last night's dinner. I'd definitely make it again! It's a lot of food for one person, though. I'm not the type who likes to eat the same leftovers for days on end.
Butternut Squash Gratin
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens. Serves 8.
1 butternut squash, 1 ¾-2 pounds
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
16 cups fresh spinach
1 cup half-and-half or light cream (I used milk with a splash of half-and-half, and it was fine)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup creme fraiche*
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside. Peel the squash, cut it in half vertically, and scoop out the seeds. Slice to ¼-inch thickness. (Aside: The squash left a residue on my hands that took at least ten washings to remove. Has anyone else experienced this??)
2. Arrange squash slices in a 15x10 baking pan and toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove the pan and increase oven temperature to 475 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, in a 4-to-6-quart Dutch oven (I used a deep skillet), cook the spinach in lightly salted boiling water for 1 minute or until wilted. Drain and cool slightly; squeeze out excess liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach (or not) and set aside.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half and cornstarch; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. (If you manage this without any lumps, congratulate yourself.) Stir in spinach, then spread mixture in bottom of prepared dish. Arrange squash over spinach mixture. (To dirty one less dish, I skipped the step 1 baking dish, instead adding the spinach to the existing squash pan and mixing it all up. This ruins the layer effect, but not the taste!)
5. In a small bowl, stir together Parmesan cheese and creme fraiche. (I had neither the time nor the calorie allowance for creme fraiche, so I used lowfat sour cream.) Spread mixture over squash in dish. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender and topping is lightly browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
* To make creme fraiche: In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup whipping cream (not ultrapasteurized) and ¼ cup dairy sour cream. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours or until mixture thickens. When thickened, cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving time or up to 48 hours. Stir before serving.