I'm on this butternut squash thing lately. Good timing you say, being autumn and all. I don't know, maybe I just relate on some kind of a personal level to a plump sweet, nutty little veggie whose most popular variety originated in Stow, (get it, like my last name Stow-ell) Massachusetts.
If you want to get all technical on me, actually a butternut squash is a fruit. Even better! Versatile too. (hmmmm....... sensing another similarity) It's delicious grilled, roasted, toasted, mashed, hashed, souped.....in breads, muffins, biscuits.....and more.
"More?" you say! Oh yes, so much more. You lucky ducks! I'm about to divulge the secret on how to turn that lovely orange butternut flesh into a hedonistic pleasure. Are you ready for this?
Nope, not quite yet. First I have to tell you how this sinfully delicious recipe popped into my eager little mind. As usual, there I was scooting about online looking for good recipe ideas when I happened upon Hungry Cravings and a yummy looking version of a tried and true potato gratin, adding none other than butternut squash. Mmmm. Sounds good. As I was reading the Hungry Cravings recipe I got to thinking about these fantastic scalloped potatoes that my mom-in-law, Mar, makes. Man those are good potatoes!!! What about if I.............
So I did, I took that fine combination of potato and butternut from Hungry Cravings and schmucked it together with parts of Mar's to-die-for scalloped potatoes and ended up, well, ended up here. Now, are you ready?
Here goes.........tuck thinly sliced butternut into a casserole with earthy BC (or Yukon) gold potatoes, crispy fried little chunkers of pancetta, bits of mild green onions, tangy Gruyere cheese, dabs of creamery butter, salt and lots of freshly ground pepper and garlic-infused heavy cream. Now bake this dish of happiness for a good while until it's an aromatic, ooey, gooey, creamy, tender tangle of decadent scrumptiousness. OH yes mama!!
I'd definitely be a butternut! If you were a 'vegetable', what vegetable would you be?
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Here we go...................get everything ready ahead of time so you can breeze through building your gratin. Grate the cheese, chop the green onions, chop and fry the pancetta.
Now that you've got all your ingredients lined up, start building. First create a layer with all the butternut slices laid evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the pancetta, grated cheese, green onions, salt and pepper. Dot with butter.
Now repeat the layer, but this time using the potatoes. Gently pour the garlic-infused cream over the top of everything and tuck into a 375F oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the gratin is a bubbly, golden brown, fork-tender thing of beauty. Let the gratin rest for just a few moments before serving.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH POTATO GRATIN
2 cups whipping cream combined with 1/4 cup water
2 plump garlic cloves, minced
3 large BC or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced (you want about even quantities of potato and squash)
Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
About 1/3 pound pancetta, chopped, fried crispy-chewy
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
About 5 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375F. Generously butter a 12-inch oval or oblong baking dish. Pour cream-water mixture in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic. Stir and heat until steaming. Set aside.
Layer all of the butternut squash evenly into the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper. Top with half of the pancetta, green onions, grated Gruyere. Dot with half the butter. Second layer, same as the first, but this time using the potatoes. Pour the warm, garlic-infused cream evenly over the top of the whole casserole. Bake for approximately 1 1/4 hours until bubbly, golden-brown and fork tender. Let rest just a few moments before serving. Enjoy!