Winter Squash Gratin

Rich, custardy and flavor-packed, this gratin certain to become a holiday favorite, enjoyed equally as a kid-friendly side or for a very grown-up brunch.  We adapted it from from a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman, the wonderful champion of vegetarian cuisine.

2 C winter squash of your choice, cooked and mashed (from a 1 ½ – 2 pound squash)
1 T olive oil
1 C onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh sage, minced (1 sprig of about 15 leaves)
2 T fresh parsley, minced
3 eggs
½ C half and half, whipping cream OR low fat milk
¾ C Swiss cheese, shredded
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
¼ C Parmesan cheese, grated – topping

Prepare your squash: preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the squash in half, place face down on a cookie sheet or a glass baking pan, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and bake 40 minutes or until soft enough to easily pierce with a knife. Remove, reduce the oven to 350F. Turn the squash over to cool and when easy to handle, scrape out the seeds and discard. Scoop the remaining flesh into a food processor or a mixing bowl and mash. You should yield 2 heaping cups of flesh.

Heat the oil in a medium-sized sauté pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until onions become fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the sage and cook until fragrant. Add the squash and the parsley; remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs and add the half and half. Fold in the squash mixture and add the grated cheese. Transfer to a buttered baking/gratin dish, sprinkle with Parmesan and bake 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned on the top. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6.

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