Tuesday, November 13, 2012

butternut squash gratin

Why did no one tell me how delicious butternut squash is?!

I mean seriously.
Best kept secret thus far.

I've noticed lately that many of the food blogs I follow have been posting recipes using butternut squash, but I've never personally cooked with it before.
Until yesterday, when my life was changed.

FYI: I was nauseas and feeling awful all day yesterday, and I swear this stuff nursed me back to life.
Probably because it tastes exactly like Thanksgiving in a bowl, and how can that not make you feel better.
But I swear, I felt 10 times better after eating this for dinner.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

recipe adapted from here
Things you'll need:
3 cups butternut squash {I bought one small/medium sized squash and used the whole thing}
1 small-medium onion
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp mayo
1 egg
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cub bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
pepper, to taste
I used a squash this size {which ended up being a little more than 3 cups}, but in my opinion, the more the merrier.

Cut, peel, and spoon all the seeds out.
I meant to take a picture of my sink after this process.
It looked like I massacred a tiny pumpkin.
Except not as gooey as pumpkin guts.

Cut into cubes and cover with cold water in a pot.
Cover and bring to a boil.
When it starts boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Then drain and rinse with cold water.

While squash is simmering, heat olive oil and saute diced onion until transparent.
Remove from heat to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, beat mayo, egg, and salt together.
Then, add 1/3 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, bread crumbs, onions, and squash.
Season with pepper, and stir gently to mix.

Note: I usually never cook with mayo because there are just too many good substitutes for it...I'm sure you could replace the mayo with non-fat plain yogurt.  However, all I had was vanilla yogurt, which obviously wouldn't fly here.  So I used Blue Plate Light Mayo - 50 cals per tbsp.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and spoon in your squash mixture.
Cover with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour, until heated through and cheese browns slightly.
{I did mine for 40 minutes}

Take out of the oven, and enjoy immediately!

The original recipe also lists some steps you can do early to shorten your time in the kitchen, like if you were going to make this for a holiday dinner and wanted to speed things up.

Also, you'll notice the original recipe did not call for mozzarella.
That was my attempt at trying to make this a boyfriend-friendly dish by adding Joe's second favorite cheese {Parmesan being the first, of course}.
I don't think he's ever told me those are his favorites, but judging by the amount of times I've had to buy them at the store I'm deeming it true.

Joe's opinion overall {drumroll please}:

"I'm sure other people would love this...do you want mine?"

Poor guy, ha.

He was a great sport though, so I can't complain.
And I did end up eating his...and maybe another spoonful when I took our dishes to the sink.
And some for lunch today.

No biggie.

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