As always at the Slow Food USA office, the staff is sharing recipes and discussing ways to reinvent seasonal staples.  One of our own interns, Sheila Karaszewski, offered up the recipe below as a new option to compliment my typical, vegetarian, cold weather eats.  Sheila has also spoken about the recipe as a part of Gourmet’s new Thanksgiving dishes webcast.  Definitely a winner.

Shelia says, “with a nod to comfort foods, I’d like to share a recipe for a dish I cook, eat, and share all throughout the season that calls for one of the most quintessential autumnal vegetables -butternut squash.

Just keep in mind that I am not a chef and the way I cook is by allowing tastes and ingredients to guide rather than rules and measurements. With that as an aforewarning, I give you the best guide that I can, but go with your instinct in determining the proportions. Trust me, with these ingredients, in cannot turn out badly!”

Butternut Squash Gratin

2 medium butternut squash
2 medium Spanish onions
1 ½ cps sage-fresh is essential
2 cps parmeggiano-reggiano (pecorino romano; asiago work too)
1 pint cream
4 tbsp butter
1 cp breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper

•    Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

•    Peel and seed squash, slice into approx. ½ in. pieces

•    Toss with olive oil, S&P to taste in bowl; transfer to baking sheet. Roast until fork tender, 20-30 minutes.

•    Heat 4 tbsp butter (NOT margarine!!) in non-stick pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent, 15 minutes. Add 1 cp sage, season with S&P, remove from heat.

•    Drizzle oil in baking dish. Layer onion mixture lightly and cover with single layer of squash-slices close together. Sprinkle cheese generously, add S&P, drizzle evenly with cream. Repeat until dish is full. Use extra cheese and cream on top of last layer and finish with light coating of breadcrumbs and sage. Drizzle with cream.

•    Bake until cream is bubbling-about 15-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly and serve.

Sheila believes, “this is a great side item or vegetarian main course.  I think it’s delicious with a salad of arugula, dried cranberries, bleu cheese, and red onion, tossed with a fig vinaigrette.”