Butternut squash is a true fall favorite. Over the years we have come to absolutely love it! Back in 2011 I started things off simple with Tessa Kiros' Baked Butternut Squash. When that was a hit I moved on to Ina's Butternut Squash and Ricotta Bruschetta.The Bruschetta was addictive so I branched out further to Ina's Butternut Squash Hummus.
The love affair was in full bloom so then we tried other favorites like Ruth Reichl's Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Walnut Lasagne and also Nigella Lawson's Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese.
Now I'm furthering the love affair with butternut squash by trying my hand at Jacques Pepin's Butternut Squash Gratin.
Pepin's gratin is so simple. It is right up my alley. Just a handful of ingredients.The hardest part is cutting the squash into 1/8-1/4" slices. Once that's done, you just boil the slices for about 2 minutes, then arrange them in a baking dish, top with salt and pepper, pour the cream on and cover with cheese. Bake for about 30-40 minutes and you have one delicious fall-inspired side dish or main dish.
You can arrange the squash slices artfully and really make the gratin beautifully arranged, but that's not really my style so I just threw the slices in the baking pan for a more 'rustic' look. I really love that word rustic, don't you?
My family walked in while this was cooking and they said "it smells like Thanksgiving in here." If that isn't the ultimate compliment then I don't know what is.
Butternut Squash Gratin
Adapted from Essential Pepin
1 large butternut squash (3-3/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Jarlsberg or other Swiss-type cheese or Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut off the stem of the butternut squash and split it in two at the bottom of the neck; this will make it easier to peel. Peel the neck lengthwise with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, removing enough skin so the orange flesh appears (there is a layer of green under the first layer of skin). For the body of the squash, remove the skin with a sknife by going around it in a spiral fashion (it is easier to peel a round object in this manner); then cut lengthwise in half and, using a sharp spoon, remove the seeds. With the slicing blade of a food processor or a knife, cut the squash into 1/8- to-1/4 -inch-thick slices.
Put the squash in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat for 1-2 to 2 minutes, then drain in a colander; the pieces will break a little.
Transfer the squash to a gratin dish and add the salt, pepper, and cream, mixing with a fork to distribute the ingredients. Cover with the cheese. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve.