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Butternut Squash Gratin
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Roasted butternut squash slices layered with a creamy sauce and topped with golden breadcrumbs makes a hassle-free side dish that just about everyone loves. Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes—saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.”
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (about 8 cups)
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white or black pepper
2½ cups low-fat milk
1½ cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese
1Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.
2Toss squash in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
3Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)
4When the squash is done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.
5Transfer half the squash to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the squash. Add the remaining squash and top with the remaining sauce.
6Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).
7Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead Tip: Roast squash (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the squash.
To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs.
To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.
Keep food fresh: If you're storing food in your fridge for a few hours or more, it's best to keep it in an airtight container or in a container covered tightly with foil. Foil is best at creating a barrier that doesn't let unwanted flavors in (or out) while you store your food.