Butternut Squash and Sage Gratin
This recipe comes with a little warning, bake the gratin on a baking sheet because the cheese can ooze and make a mess of your oven and you want to catch all that crispy cheese as a snack for the chef, so it actually serves 2 purposes.
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.
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 by a reader to try a mild gorgonzola. The 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 practice 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 dish. It was such a hit for Thanksgiving, I made it again for Christmas because it was requested.
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- 1 whole butternut squash peeled and sliced, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup fontina cheese, grated
- 2 cups parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Butter an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20-cm) baking dish or mini cast iron skillets.
- Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it absorbs the butter. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes to cook out the flour taste, it will start to turn darker when ready.
- Whisk in the milk, in small batches until thickened. Stir in the fontina and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese until completely melted and sauce is smooth.
- Stir in the sage, nutmeg and pepper. Taste the sauce and add more salt. This will depend on how salty your cheese is and your salt palette.
- Arrange the butternut squash slices in a single layer on bottom of dish.
- Pour 1/3 of the sauce over the first layer of butternut squash. Arrange another single layer of butternut squash and top with 1/3 of the sauce. Arrange the last layer of butternut squash and top with the remaining sauce.
- Mix the other cup of Parmesan cheese with the panko and mix well. Top the gratin with an even layer.
- Place the dishes onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden and the butternut squash is tender when a fork is inserted.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 696Saturated Fat 24gCholesterol 114mgSodium 1237mgCarbohydrates 51gProtein 35g