Butternut Squash Casserole: A Colorado fall favorite

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Colorado Department of Agriculture

Butternut squash is a fall favorite, so if you haven’t had a chance to try this yummy and diverse gourd, don’t wait any longer. Butternut Squash is a winter squash that grows on a vine with a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin.

Squashes are a versatile food that offer a variety of health benefits and can be served savory or sweet. Many winter squash are a good source of vitamin A, which helps protect eyes and skin. The squash, which is actually a fruit, contains potassium just like a banana, an important mineral for keeping bones healthy (Produce Market Guide). A single cup of squash contains more vitamin A than the daily recommended amount. 

One of the “three sisters” crops of Indigenous American agriculture, the squash has a long and venerable history as a product native to North America, so serve it all autumn long. 

Each month the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different ag commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown and raised in the state. For October, Chef Jason Morse brings us a savory squash casserole. 

“I think side dishes are just as important as the meal and today’s recipe proves it,” Morse said. “We take some locally grown butternut squash, add a nice assortment of ingredients and the result is, well, simply perfect. Happy cooking!”

Butternut Squash
Casserole 

Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C.

Yield: Serves 6-8 people

Prep time: 15 minutes

Freeze time: 1 to 1 1/4 hours

Ingredients:

4 ounces pancetta, diced small 

2 medium shallots, diced small

2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, washed and peeled, diced large

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh ground black to taste

1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs, dried 

2 tablespoons salted butter

2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded 

1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

1 cup fried onions, chopped

Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large, oven-safe saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned.

Add the onion and saute until lightly browned.

Add butternut squash, salt, pepper, Italian herbs and butter. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the cream and both shredded cheeses. Cook and stir until combined and thickened. Remove from the heat.

Add the butternut squash mix to the pan.

Cover the pan with lid or foil and cook in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes or until squash is tender. Check for doneness at approximately 45 minutes.

Once squash is tender, uncover and add fried onions to the top. Cook for 5 additional minutes to crisp onions.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven (using heat-proof gloves), place onto a heat-proof surface and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Devour.

Visit www.coloradoproud.org for a complete list of recipes.