Add Cheesy Butternut Squash Gratin with Smoked Gouda & Herbed Breadcrumbs to your holiday dinner menu! Creamy & tender butternut squash is infused with onion & sage – all topped with melty & smoky gouda & perfectly toasty breadcrumbs for the ultimate bite. This indulgent squash au gratin is an easy to make side dish, perfect for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, or any comforting dinner this winter!
for the toasted breadcrumbs:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. thyme, rosemary, sage)
- kosher salt, to taste
for the Cheesy Butternut Gratin:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded & diced into 1/2-inch cubes (roughly 2 and 1/2 pounds or 8 cups diced)
- 3–4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. thyme, rosemary, sage)
- pinch freshly ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cups half & half
- 4 ounces smoked gouda, freshly grated (about 3/4 cup)
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish & set aside.
- Toast the breadcrumbs: Add the butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the panko breadcrumbs, stirring to coat in the butter. Toast 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown & fragrant. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a medium bowl, adding in the parmesan & herbs. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt as desired. Set aside.
- Saute the butternut: Using a paper towel, carefully wipe out the pot used to make the breadcrumbs with, wiping out any browned butter or breadcrumb residue. Place the pot back over medium heat & add the butter. Once melted, add the onion & butternut squash. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly. Add the garlic, herbs, & nutmeg, & cook another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
- Assemble the gratin: Transfer the squash mixture to the prepared baking dish. Pour the half & half over top, then finish with the smoked gouda & toasted breadcrumbs.
- Bake the butternut squash gratin for 50-55 minutes, until the gouda is melted & the gratin is bubbling around the edges. To avoid a mess in the event that the gratin bubbles over as it bakes, place the baking dish on a sheet pan.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Storage: Leftover butternut squash gratin will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through. Due to the amount of cream used, I don’t suggest freezing this butternut squash au gratin.
- 20-Minute Meal Prep: A little meal prep goes a long way in pulling this squash gratin together on Thanksgiving day! Between prepping the squash, chopping the veggies & herbs, shredding the cheese, & making the breadcrumb topping, there are many components of this butternut squash gratin that can be prepared up to 1 week ahead of time. Pick & choose from the below list, or do it all!
- Chop veggies & herbs (15 minutes active prep): Peel, deseed, & dice 1 medium butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes, dice 1 medium onion, & finely chop 3-4 cloves of garlic. Finely chop 2 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice. Grate 4 ounces cheese. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Herbed sourdough bread cubes (<5 minutes active prep): Prep according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make-ahead Butternut Squash Gratin: This butternut squash gratin can also be assembled up to 3 days in advance & baked just before your Thanksgiving dinner. To make ahead of time, complete Steps 2-4 of Recipe Directions, above. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bake as directed in Steps 1 & 5, above, adding an extra 5-10 minutes to baking time, until the squash gratin is heated through the center & bubbling around the edges.
- Portions: As written, this butternut squash gratin recipe yields a medium batch, serving up to 6 generously as a side dish. For a different sized crowd:
- Scaled up: To serve up to 12 as a side dish, double the recipe. Assemble the gratin in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake as directed in Step 5, adding 10-15 minutes to baking time as needed, until the gratin is heated through with a browned top & bubbling edges.
- Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe. Assemble the gratin in a 9×6 baking dish. Bake as directed in Step 5, subtracting 5-10 minutes from the baking time as needed, until the gratin is heated through with a browned top & bubbling edges. Use leftover butternut squash in another Thanksgiving side dish or as part of a Thanksgiving salad; or use honeynut squash instead – it’s like a baby butternut!
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