Here’s a different take on butternut squash that combines some the best flavors of fall and winter: sage, nutmeg, earthy leeks and nutty Gruyere cheese. Baking these in individual ramekins or ovenproof bowls makes a beautiful table presentation for a holiday meal or just because.
Time: About 30 minutes active; 2 hours total
2 pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2–4 leeks, chopped, 4 cups total
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Roast for 45 minutes, then remove from heat, turn skin side up and let cool 30 minutes. Then remove squash flesh and mash with a potato masher. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and add butter. When melted, add leeks, cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Some leeks should be browned, but if not continue to cook, uncovered, up to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and cook slightly.
3. Whisk sugar, sage, salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg in a bowl. Add squash, leeks and half the cheese and stir until combined.
4. Spoon mixture into 6 ramekins or ovenproof bowls. Place bowls in a large casserole dish filled with hot water up to 1 inch after the bowls are in place. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes more until gratins are set.
5. Carefully remove bowls from water and place on a baking sheet. Preheat broiler. Divide the remaining cheese and sprinkle on top of each bowl. Broil 2–3 minutes until cheese is bubbling and lightly browned. Serve hot.
Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food and is a vegetarian—she doesn’t believe these things are mutually exclusive. A vegetarian for the past nine years, Capps created Vegetarianized.com as a way to share her passion for eating, drinking, and cooking—and to make vegetarianism more accessible. The blog transforms meat dishes into vegetarian or improves vegetarian recipes and puts the results up in a weekly post called the Sunday Serving on the blog and at the Facebook Group, Vegetarianized. Capps is also a food writer, teaches cooking classes in Davis and is an amateur caterer. Upcoming cooking classes and recent food articles are found on the blog home page.