Butternut Squash Gratin

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Both my mother and grandmother loved winter squash of all sorts, and butternut was a family favorite. I knew it was fall when the scent of caramelized roasted squash filled the house. Today I decided to make a butternut squash gratin both to welcome fall and remember those happy family times in the kitchen together.

After a nasty cut suffered while hacking up a giant butternut squash, I had shied away from these beauties for too long. Armed with an improved peeler and sharper knife, I prepared my squash and walked away unscathed. And so, the return of the butternut squash, just in time for fall here in San Diego.

TIP: Roast the squash while you are preparing the gratin sauce. If your sauce is ready before the squash, it can easily rest on the stove until you pull together the gratin for baking.

Yields: 8 servings

  • 1 large butternut squash (2.5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • kosher salt and/or ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups organic whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyére cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and/or ground white pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the cut-up squash on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and/or pepper. Use your hands to toss and coat the squash.

3. Bake the squash for 30 minutes, or until tender. Use a large spoon to toss once or twice during the cooking.

4. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk just until it simmers.

5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until wilted but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and hot milk. Whisk sauce until it thickens and lumps dissolve. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Remove pan from heat.

6. Add the Gruyére and thyme. Season with salt and/or pepper. Stir.

7. Add the roasted squash, including its juices, and mix well to combine.

8. Pour into a glass or ceramic 9 X 11 baking dish. Use a spatula to smooth top. Sprinkle panko on top of gratin.

9. Place baking dish on a sheet pan and cook for 30-35 minutes until bubbling.

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16 Responses to Butternut Squash Gratin

  1. TasteFood October 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    This sounds so rich and wonderful. I love the combination of sweet squash with bechamel and gruyere.

    • lizthechef October 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

      Thank you, Lynda – and congrats on your HUGE win on food52!

  2. Sunchowder -Wendy Read October 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    I love Gruyere Cheese! I have been using Comte lately also as it is a bit more affordable for us and available at Costco most times. This recipe looks simple and delightful! I hope that you are enjoying your time in Santa Fe.

    • lizthechef October 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Hi Wendy, sorry for the delay – your comment came through as spam – boy, did I fix that! See you in Santa Monica!

  3. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator October 29, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    Hi Liz!
    I have nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award, the award for small blogs (under 200 subscribers) that deserve more attention. It’s kind of a pay-it-forward thing. I have no idea if you are a “small blog” (as there are so many ways people can follow us bloggers these days) but I definitely wanted my readers to visit your blog, as I love it. Read more about the award and rules on my blog. 🙂


    • lizthechef October 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

      How kind of you – we are just home from our trip and what a welcome!

  4. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    This looks just wonderful, Liz!! And your photo is gorgeous! Really beautiful! I love butternut squash too and will be making your recipe really soon! And congrats on the below post re: the Blog nomination!!!!! That’s so fabulous!!! And sooo deserved!

    • lizthechef October 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      Thanks, Susan, and just wait until we get our new cameras 😉

  5. Karen October 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    This looks delicious! I have been asked go bring a vegetable dish for Thanksgiving, this us now on the short list. Do you think it would be flavorful enough without the cheese?

    • lizthechef October 30, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

      No, you really need the cheese – I even thought of adding some finely grated parmesan on top before adding the breadcrumbs.

  6. Oui, Chef October 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I have promised myself to cook more with squash this season. This one sounds so good that it might even grace the Thanksgiving table. – S

    • lizthechef October 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      My next batch I plan to cut the roasted squash into smaller pieces for more even distribution in the gratin – tip of the day 😉

  7. Winnie November 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Liz this looks so decadent and delicious. I have a variety of squashes and pumpkins on my counter from my garden…really need to get cracking on cooking them up!

    • lizthechef November 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      I’m sure you will make something fabulous with your squash –

  8. jaynerly November 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Yum, Liz!
    What a lovely photo and yay for the blog award nomination, that is fabulous!

    • lizthechef November 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      Hi Jayne, I just commented on your post – great minds think alike…

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