It is cheesy, creamy, with a crunchy golden breadcrumb topping. All the textures you want are in this utterly delicious Butternut Squash Gratin! It makes a great warming dish that matches perfectly with the herby thyme.
Gratin as a side dish
A ‘Gratin’ is essentially a shallow baked dish with a browned crust on top. Gratin comes from the French verb ‘gratiner‘ which means browning in the oven. This can be achieved by using breadcrumbs, cheese or butter. Oftentimes, Butternut squash gratin is served alongside a roast main dish and garlic baguette.
This heavenly butternut Squash gratin is the ultimate comfort food. Agree? And the best thing is it and can be prepared in advance, ready to bake.
What ingredients do you need
Butternut squash: Use a ripe butternut squash of approximately 1 Kg. A ripe butternut squash will have a full stem that’s firm to the touch.
Onions: This is a key ingredient as it lifts up the taste of the dish.
Cheese: For gratin, I use cheddar, parmesan or emmental, or a combination.
Cream: Use double cream, it gives the dish that added richness.
Garlic: It enhances the flavour of the gratin.
Thyme: A great herb to use with butternut squash.
Butter: It gives the dish that extra buttery taste.
Breadcrumbs: It gives a crispy topping.
Alternative ingredients you can use to make this dish are pumpkin, patty pan which is another type of squash, or even courgettes!
How do you make Butternut Squash Gratin
First take the skin off the butternut squash. From experience cooking butternut squash numerous times, I would use a sharp vegetable peeler with a good grip, and peel off the skin. I find it is a much easier process than using a knife. Half the squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut the halves in half so it is easier to cube each piece.
Cook the butternut squash so it softens before going in the oven. Once cooked mash it and stir in the cream. Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and bake in the oven. I love the assembling process and the best thing is this dish can be made ahead of time!
To make the homemade breadcrumbs use one or two slices of day old bread and 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves. Blend together for 2 minutes until it turns into fine crumbs. You can make breadcrumbs in advance and store in an airtight container in the freezer for use later.
How best to store Butternut Squash Gratin
This dish can be assembled ahead of time, ready for ‘gratiner‘ in the oven. Once baked it can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. This gratin can also be frozen. When ready to eat, heat it in the oven – it should take between 30 and 40 minutes.
Creamy Herby Butternut Squash Recipe
- 1 Butternut Squash approx. 1 Kg
- 1 large onion chopped
- 100 g Cheddar cheese
- 150 ml double cream
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 knobs of butter
- 50 g fresh breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel and cut the butternut squash into 2cm cubes.
- Cook the squash: Melt the butter over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Add the onions and stir for one minute. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the butternut squash until all the pieces are coated in the butter. Cook covered for 15 minutes, adding a little water if it is too dry.
- Add the Thyme: Add the thyme leaves, season and cook for another 5 minutes until soft.
- Mash the squash: Roughly mash the butternut squash and add the cream and some of the cheese, stirring well. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Bake the squash: Transfer the cooked butternut squash into a gratin dish. Top with cheese and sprinkle the breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy piping hot!