Monday, November 9, 2009

Squash, Pear, and Onion au Gratin

I've often been intimidated by the butternut squash. What the heck do I do with that thing? But I love squash, so here's what I've always done. I'll buy a butternut squash, get all excited and bring it home and sit it on the counter and stare at it.

That's it.

Because what the heck do you do?

I imagine back to the days of the neanderthals. How did they know to crack it open and what to do with it? I often wonder about how many foods were discovered, like the coconut. Who first looked at that thing and thought to crack it open? Well, ok, a coconut probably fell from a tree, bonked some neanderthal on the noggin, cracked open, and while all his buddy nomads bust a gut laughing at him, he scooped it up and...licked it? I don't know?!

They must have gotten to where they saw something, anything, and cracked it open. Everything was edible on the inside. Even the hunters, kill the animal, crack it open and eat.

It makes you wonder how many mistakes or mishaps there were with cracking and eating. Maybe there was a designated taster, the village idiot. Sent to be the first taster, and as long as he didn't die, it was safe to eat.

These are the things I wonder about.

Well, this time I finally bought a butternut squash and figured out what to do with it and oh what I've been missing out on! Soooooo good. I mean real good! Give it a go!

Squash, Pear, and Onion au Gratin
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 1/2 lb butternut, buttercup, or banana squash (banana squash? Never heard of it!)

1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings

1 tbsp butter or margarine

1 medium pear, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 tbsp melted butter or margarine

Peel the squash (!) and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Remove and discard seeds. Set squash aside. (I love when recipes tell you to set something aside)

Cook onion rings in the 1 tbsp hot butter for 5-10 minutes until tender.

Arrange half the squash slices in the bottom of an 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Top with half the pear slices. Repeat layers. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with cooked onions. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven about 45 minutes or until nearly tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp melted butter, sprinkle over vegetables. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes more or until tender.

The original recipe calls for also putting in 2 tbsp walnuts with the bread crumbs which is probably really tasty but I didn't have any so I left that bit out. Served with slow cooker parmesan chicken and mashed cauliflower.

1 comment:

  1. sounds great - and, as you know, your parental unit is big on squash so we will be trying this recipe. The picture really makes it look tempting!