Gratin, or the fancy French phrase for the technique, au gratin, is really just a casserole, enriched with cream, eggs and/or cheese, and topped with a crunchy crust, usually breadcrumbs. You can “gratin” almost anything, from macaroni to brussels sprouts to crab to eggplant. In a quintessential French way, what this method does is take whatever the main ingredient is, and bathe it under a silky blanket of creamy goodness, and then add a wonderful savory topping for extra textural delight. It’s one of our favorite things to make for supper when we’re craving something warm and comforting. It’s also a top-notch way to get kids to try new veggies!
This butternut squash gratin starts with a rich sauce made from onions, cream and Gruyere, punched up with fresh sage leaves, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Layers of thinly sliced butternut squash are spread with the cheesy sauce (almost like a lasagna) then baked. Partway through the baking, breadcrumbs and more Gruyere are sprinkled on top to form the golden crunchy topping. Gruyere is hard yellow Swiss-style cheese that melts incredible well and is perfect for applications like this (it’s also great in fondue!). While they aren’t technically Gruyere cheeses, as they’re made in Pennsylvania and not Switzerland, we do suggest using a local cheese, like Ely Farm’s Washington Crossing (Newton, PA), PA Noble’s Alpine (Lancaster, PA), or Gridley Gruyere from God’s Country Creamery (Ulysses, PA).
Check out the video for the technique, then head to Savor Recipes for the the full recipe!
- Video and photo: Dish Works for Savor Recipes