Squash & Apple Gratin
Yield: 6 servings
This hearty dish is substantial enough to serve as a vegetarian main course, but also makes a nice accompaniment to roast chicken or turkey. The sliced apples and butternut squash lend sweetness, while a crumbly top of garlicky breadcrumbs makes for a savory balance.
Apple notes: Any firm-sweet apple will work well in this gratin.
Note: In a pinch, you can substitute 1-1/4 cups (3 ounces) of panko breadcrumbs for the fresh ones. Toss with 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus nutmeg and garlic; then sprinkle over the apples.
Ingredients:2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium (1-1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide crescents and half-moons
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 medium-size firm-sweet apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1-1/2 ounces crusty white bread, such as Pullman style or Italian, torn into small pieces (see Note)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions:Preheat oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position.
In a small bowl, whisk together cream and broth. In a large bowl, toss squash with cheese, cream mixture, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour into a 2-quart gratin or 8x8-inch baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake until squash is tender, 35-45 minutes, turning the dish and removing the foil halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on.
Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until it begins to brown, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rosemary and remaining salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add apples; cook until tender and beginning to caramelize, 8-10 minutes. Spread evenly over squash. Turn broiler to high.
In a food processor, pulse bread with the remaining butter, garlic, and nutmeg to create coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over squash and apples. Broil, uncovered, until topping is golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving.