Apple Butternut Squash Gratin
I first made this apple butternut squash gratin for my sister’s baby shower last year and it was completely devoured. Not a crumb was left. I was a little sad because once I had had a taste of it, I was already dreaming about leftovers. I’ve been meaning to make it again every since, but it somehow slipped from my mind and then the next thing I knew, it was spring. When a good friend and his mother made the trip up to have dinner with us earlier this fall, this gratin instantly came to mind. It just seemed like the perfect dish. Warm and satisfying, while being perfectly seasonal with roasted butternut squash, sautéed apple, fresh rosemary, nutty gruyere, and a dash of cream, all topped with crunchy, garlicky breadcrumbs, this gratin is both deliciously sweet and savory. It is also guaranteed to make your house smell absolutely amazing.
The dish is substantial enough to serve as a main dish, pairing beautifully with a harvest salad of pear or apple, walnuts, and gorgonzola, but it would work equally well as a side to any fall meal. It would be an especially nice accompaniment to a Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you are looking for something that will work for both your vegetarian and meat-eating guests alike.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how thankful I am, and it honestly has nothing to do with Thanksgiving being just around the corner. It began when I was writing my last post. As painful as that experience was, I am so incredibly thankful because things could have been so much worse. What I didn’t mention in the post is that my miscarriage happened just a couple of days before the Boston Marathon bombings and a week before my neighborhood was on lockdown while they searched for the bombers. While I mourned the loss of my baby, I was immensely grateful to have all of my limbs and most especially for the safety of my friends and family. I am aware of just how precious life is and I am so thankful every time I feel my baby girl kick and punch her way around my womb.
I have been overwhelmed by the kind words that have tumbled in since my last post. I admit, I felt a little like I was putting myself out on a limb writing that post, and I was a little wary of hitting the “publish” button, but I never expected the response that I got. I have really appreciated all of the thoughtful messages that I received. I am so very thankful for many things, including all of you.
The recent events in the Philippines have helped me realize once again how lucky I am and how many things in my life I take for granted. Now with over 5,200 confirmed dead, 23,000 people injured, 1,600 missing, and four million people displaced, I am at a loss for what to say. The destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan is simply staggering. I am so thankful that Joseph’s family there is safe, but I am heartbroken for the entire country and all those affected. Please, in this season of giving, consider giving whatever you can, large or small, to relief organizations working in the Philippines such as the American Red Cross, the Philippine Red Cross, Save the Children, and UNICEF.
I know that I have so much to be thankful for as I gather with family to celebrate Thanksgiving. I look forward to eating good food and spending valuable time with them. Life is short and you never know what lies ahead. We should all spend more time gathering with loved ones and celebrating all that we are thankful for over heaping plates of food made with love.
Apple Butternut Squash Gatin
From Amy Traverso's The Apple Lover's Cookbook
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 medium butternut squash (1 ½ lbs or 680 g), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch-wide crescents and half-moons
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 medium firm-sweet apples (I used honeycrisp), peeled, cored, and cut into ½ inch wedges
- 1 ½ ounces (46 g) crusty white bread, such as Pullman style or Italian, torn into small pieces
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and set an oven rack to the middle position. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and the broth. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the cheese, cream mixture, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Pour into a gratin or baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until the squash is tender, 35 to 45 minutes, turning the dish and removing the foil halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
- Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook until it begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rosemary, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the apples, and cook until they are tender and beginning to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes. Spread evenly over the squash. Turn the broiler to high.
- In a food processor, pulse the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic, and nutmeg to create course breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the squash and apples. Broil, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.