Friday, September 23, 2011

Butternut Squash and Rosemary Gratin

A couple nights ago, I made a Butternut Squash Pudding so sweet I thought it was better suited as a dessert than a side dish.  As a result, I was craving a more traditional side made of this versatile winter squash, and this one fits the bill. 

  • 3 cups mashed and cooked butternut squash*
  • 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan sprinkles, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese
1. Combine the squash in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan sprinkles, the salt, the rosemary, and the black pepper.

2. Spoon the mixture into a 1.5-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan sprinkles and 1/4 cup of your favorite vegan cheese.  In recipes that call for a sharp dairy cheese like Asiago, I turn immediately to the strong cheddar from Sheese, which I think captures that flavor well.  The Parmesan and Sheese will combine to form the crunchy browned topping that characterizes any gratin.

3. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  This dish will pair with just about any fall-flavored entree you can think of.

*Cook and mash the squash in the afternoon, so that the gratin comes together in a flash come evening.  Simply cut a 3-pound butternut squash in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and fibers.  Place the squash, cut-sides down, in a 13x9-inch baking dish, and fill the dish with water to a depth of 1-inch.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until tender. Let cool, and then scoop out the pulp with a spoon.  Mash the pulp with a potato masher until smooth, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (3/4 cup), Calories 129 

Tasting Notes:
Just about as perfect and simple as side dishes come.  Absolutely no hassle to throw together, in and out of the oven in no time, and packed with great flavor from very few (and very fresh) ingredients.  The butternut squash was autumn on a fork, and I thought the amount of rosemary was perfect.  If you want to play up the rosemary factor a little bit more, you could add an additional 1/4 teaspoon.  Great Parmesan taste, and a nice contrast between the crisp cheese topping and soft squash interior.  So simple but good that you'll make this all season.


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