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.
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.
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 roasted butternut squash bruschetta and I wanted to make a rich creamy dish, a gratin came to mind.
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.
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 from happening.
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.
A really good cheese sauce
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, but this time I used milk instead of chicken stock because the butternut squash can hold up to the heavy sauce.
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 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.
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31 Comments on “Butternut Squash and Sage Gratin”
This was FANTASTIC! Even my husband, who isn’t a huge fan of creamy or cheesy sauces, couldn’t get enough! I followed the directions with these exceptions: used dried nutmeg and halved the amount, and added fresh thyme. This is a decadent, rich side dish that’s perfect for the holidays or other special dinner (or just a Monday night that needs a little sprucing up😋). I wish I had a picture but we devoured it before I thought to take one!
I love to hear this, thank you for sharing.
Hi Laurel, thank you for pointing that out. I’ve updated the recipe. Come back and let me know if you make it 🙂
Thank you! I’m making it this Saturday as a side dish for a “goodbye summer, hello fall” dinner party. 3 day Beef Bourginon main course. Saw this recipe and it looks so delicious, had to include it! I think the creaminess will be good with the “wineyness” of the beef and will also be good for my non-beef eater. Also a nice green salad and pear sorbet with maple sugar cookies for dessert. Will let you know how it turns out!
Laurel that is a fantastic menu and I think this is the perfect creamy side dish to offset the richness of the Bourginon. Please do come back and let me know how it went. I’d love to see a picture 🙂
Butternut squash can be bland (at least to me), so the addition of cheese is definitely appealing to me 😉
I agree Mike and cheese added to anything can’t be bad 🙂
I could eat that whole thing right now! So hungry and it looks so good 🙂
G’day Gorgeous recipe and photos! Wish I could try some now!
Wow this is calling my name! Love it!
I’m getting hungry for lunch, and now this! Now I’m starving and I want this for lunch! Yum!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I really like the butternut and then you make the gratin. OMG!
Your recipe sounds absolutely delicious and I love your pans too! What a great combo of ingredients!
Pretty much in love with everything that goes in this dish and the outcome is divine. Love that they are served in cast iron pans.
OMG!!!! This looks heavenly!!! I love the combo of butternut squash and sage AND fontina!!!! YUM!
This dish looks incredible!
Gratin is my all time favorite and I can’t help to order one when I saw them at any restaurant! Now I want to get my own cast iron skillets to make those creamy dishes!
I love all your recipes that have sage in them. This one is particularly delicious. Would work great as a side dish for Thanksgiving.
Janette, I am not at all hungry right now but my mouth is watering like crazy at this post. This would be a wonderfully luxurious side dish for a special meal, but I also love the little skillets. How lovely to be served one of those for yourself! Love this!
What a gorgeous dish! Love all the cheese 🙂
Your gratin looks so irresistible. Pinned, YUM’d and SU’d.
This sounds delicious, Janette! What a beautiful recipe and I just adore this photo. Love the little skillets!
Thank you Nicole, I love them too. Finding myself using them for so many dishes.
Looks so colorful and delicious! Pinning and hoping to try it soon!
Thank you Mira 🙂
This is a beautiful dish and recipe. I’ve pinned, tweeted, shared on TSU and Google.
Thank you so much for your support Patty.
So yummy, and how adorable are those mini cast iron skillets! I love the flavors in this dish.
Thank you Mrs Hill 🙂
What a beautiful dish Janette…and so perfect for upcoming holiday dinners!
Thank you so much MPM 🙂