Why should potatoes have all the fun? You can gratin anything! Butternut squash, with its inherent sweetness and lovely, nutty flavor, makes the perfect subject to roast all covered in cheese.
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch-thick half-moons
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 large white onion, sliced
- 4 large fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup winter ale
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove most of the outer papery skin from the head of garlic. Slice off the top 1/2 inch or so to expose the tips of all the cloves while keeping the head intact. Place the head on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with the olive oil and close the foil tightly around the garlic.
Place the wrapped garlic in a small baking dish and roast until softened, about 40 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven and set it aside, still wrapped, to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, lay the butternut squash slices in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish in two tight layers, one on top of the other.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Stir in the sage and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
Once the garlic has cooled enough to handle, unwrap and squeeze the head over the saucepan so that the soft cloves drop in. Discard the rest of the head.
Add the cornstarch and stir to combine. Stir in the broth and beer. Add half of the Gruyère, about 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring until combined before adding more.
Pour the mixture over the squash, then top with the remaining Gruyère. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the squash for 30 minutes or until a fork easily pierces its flesh. Serve warm.
Reprinted with permission from “Lush: A Season-by-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce” by Jacquelyn Dodd, Agate Surrey, October 2019.