Butternut Squash and Sage Gratin
This Butternut Squash and Sage Gratin is a delicious cheesy side dish (similar to scalloped potatoes). Thin sweet slices of butternut squash are baked in a fontina Parmesan cheese sauce, then topped with a crunchy panko breadcrumbs and baked. Ideal for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner.
What is gratin?
Any dish that is prepared in the French way ‘au gratin’, means that it is cooked in cream or milk with cheese and baked. This recipe is has a little twist by adding panko breadcrumbs for a lovely, crunchy topping.
Gratin serving dish
I recently purchased some small cast iron skillets because they’re just so cute. You can cook in them and serve the food right in the pan. I had a couple of butternut squash’s leftover over from making Thai butternut squash soup, so I came up with this gratin.
If you don’t have cast iron skillets, the recipe can also be made in an 8 x 8-inch (23 x 23 cm) square or oval baking dish.
Tried and true gratin recipe
If you’ve ever made a gratin or scalloped potatoes, you know that the milk or cream can curdle and/or the cheese separated and creates an oily layer. This is my foolproof recipe that avoid both of those.
When it comes to slicing the butternut squash, I recommend using a mandolin. The thinner the slices, the faster it bakes.
How to cut up a whole butternut squash
Start by cutting off the top end of the squash.
Peel the entire squash.
Cut the long neck part, as close to the bulbous end as possible. This is especially helpful for this recipe as you can cut as many rounds as possible.
Cut the bulbous part in half and use a spoon to scrap out the seeds.
Then proceed to chop to the size needed.
The best butternut squash for gratin
Choose a long neck butternuts squash, this way you can get lots of circles for the gratin. The best way to get thin slices is to use a mandolin, unless you’re skilled at slicing very thin with a sharp knife.
Best cheese for gratin
For the sauce, I took inspiration from the baked gnocchi with sage and cheese I made last year. The cheese sauce was so good it had to be repeated.
Which cheeses are best for gratin?
I always recommend the cook can use whatever good melting cheese they want when it comes to a cheese sauce. I can’t always find fontina in my store, so gruyere is a delicious alternative, sharp white cheddar or havarti are all lovely melting cheeses. It was recently recommended to me by a reader to try a mild gorgonzola. Parmesan is the best cheese to mix with the panko topping.
There is something just so flavorful with this sauce I wanted to eat the entire pan, but I was able to practise restraint, barely. Covered in a creamy, cheesy sage sauce and topped with sage panko breadcrumbs, how can that not make you drool?
The Perfect Holiday Side Dish
This creamy butternut squash gratin is also the perfect holiday side dish. If you’re feeding a crowd, double the recipe and prepare in a larger 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) dish. It was such a hit for Thanksgiving, I made it again for Christmas because it was requested.
If you’ve tried this Butternut Squash and Sage Gratin or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments. You can also ask questions there. I love to hear from my readers!