November 23, 2007

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts
Bon Appetit (November 2007)

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (8 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
ground pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place butternut squash cubes and olive oil in large bowl; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and ground pepper and toss to coat. Spread out squash cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until just tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks and chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Coat 11x7-inch baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Spread half of leek mixture over bottom of prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of squash and half of cheese. Repeat layering with leeks, squash, and cheese. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Pour cream evenly over gratin. Sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts. Bake uncovered until gratin is heated through and cream is bubbling, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if previously chilled).

TO GO: This gratin is a good choice for transporting because it travels well.

Notes: I am, I must admit, something of a fanatic about goat cheese. I will eat it straight out of the packaging. That was one of the reasons this caught my attention. Also, that it claimed to travel well. Plus, the last two years for Thanksgiving I've made a sweet potato dish and wanted to stray slightly further into the realm of vegetables not generally liked by my family. Well, this one seemed to go over well. I had one sister who commented that she'd prefer it without the hazelnuts, but someone else at the table argued they added interesting texture. So, that's a draw. As for me, I liked the mix of flavors and found it really dressed up the squash. Of course, it had nothing on grandma's stuffing recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Jennifer at November 23, 2007 12:38 PM | TrackBack

This came out really well, with the leeks and the goat cheese adding nice flavors to the squash, and the hazlenuts adding texture. I do think that chopping the nuts a bit less coarsely would make it even better, but otherwise it's a winner.

Posted by: Michael at November 26, 2007 8:45 PM

This was a very interesting dish. The hazelnuts added a tasty contrast to the cheese. It is something that I would enjoy eating again.

Posted by: Jill at November 26, 2007 8:57 PM

This was a great addition to our Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone liked it, although a couple did not prefer the nuts in it. I enjoyed it very much, the squash taste is mellowed by the goat cheese and cream. I enjoy squash just by itself, but this recipe made it an elegant addition to our menu.

Posted by: Mom at December 2, 2007 10:02 PM
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