Danny Bonvissuto, HGTV Gardens Contributor

Danny Bonvissuto

butternut squash gratin
Butternut squash stands up well to the cream and cheese—and 12 garlic cloves!—in this gratin.
Try out these recipes and tell us what you think.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan

Butternut squash may be a bear to peel and cut, but you’ll forget all about that after a few forkfuls of this rich gratin, created by chef Chris Hill of Bachelor Kitchen.

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 8 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, or 1 head, root end sliced off
  • 2 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, stripped from branches
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, reserve ¼ for finishing gratin

Slice stem off head of garlic, barely exposing the cloves inside, and loosely wrap in foil. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes – until cloves soften and turn a light golden brown. When done, break up or slice into halves and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in medium non-stick saucepan. Add onion, thyme and sage and sweat for 4-6 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add flour and stir mixture to incorporate. Slowly add half and half (to avoid lumps), whisking to incorporate, adding a little bit at a time. Once incorporated, the sauce should start to thicken, but it won’t thicken entirely until it reaches a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium low and add cheese, salt and pepper.

In a greased casserole dish, evenly distribute the butternut squash, then add roasted garlic over the top and between the cracks. Pour cheese sauce over butternut squash (enough to fill holes, and a bit on top, but don’t go overboard – if there is excess, that’s okay). Bake covered for 40 minutes until bubbly and tender when poked with fork. Remove, add bread crumbs and remaining cheese and cook uncovered for another 8-10 minutes, allowing the bread crumbs and cheese to turn golden brown.

If the gratin isn’t browning like you would like, add a bit more butter and broil on high for 1-2 minutes, keeping a close watch so it doesn’t burn. Remove and allow the dish to rest for 15 minutes so that when you cut into it, the mixture stays firm, and doesn’t run all over your plates.

Fried Buffalo Brussels Sprouts

You tried to take the healthy route by steaming your sprouts, and for that we congratulate you. Now chef de cuisine Anthony Ahrens of Summer Winter restaurant in Burlington, Massachusetts says it’s time to toss those leftovers in breadcrumbs and let them kiss a nice pan coated in oil.

  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable or canola oil

Fit a large pot with a steamer insert; fill with water to bottom of insert. Cover and bring to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts, and season with salt; steam, tossing halfway through, until bright green and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Cut Brussels sprouts in half. Coat in flour, wash with egg, coat in bread crumbs. Deep fry at 350 degrees in vegetable or canola oil. Place on paper towel to drain then toss with your favorite hot sauce.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Chef Denise Appel of Zinc in New Haven, Connecticut has a heaping helping of healthy ingredients in this squash dish, with just the right amount of butter and white wine to balance it out.

  • 2 whole acorn squash (green) cut in half and seeded
  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 bunch kale de-stemmed and sautéed in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Roast the squash for 45-50 minutes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil in each squash half. In a sauté pan, add onion, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Add quinoa and let simmer for a minute. Add wine and kale, butter and 2 kinds of herbs. Season to taste; fill roasted squashes with mixture. Heat in oven at 350 degrees for at least 15 minutes, or until hot.


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