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Friday, December 31, 2010

Random Food Fridays - Squash Casserole

You may have noticed a trend in Random Food Fridays. I like squash. A lot. I really like squash enhanced with savory flavors. I grew up with all squashes and sweet potatoes served up super sweet, with brown sugar and cinnamon. I still like those sweet squashes every now and then, mostly in pie. Savory squash dishes, like this one, are the ones that have become regulars at our table.

This recipe is adapted from Butternut Squash Supreme by Marianna King. I found it on Like many of her reviewers, I changed it to suit my tastes. Her instructions include a diced raw onion and cheddar cheese. I substituted one of my favorite flavor combinations - shallots, sage and a blend of Italian cheeses. I've made this with sweet potatoes as well. This week, I baked off the acorn, delicata and sugar pumpkin I had used as a decoration throughout the Fall. I like baking rather than boiling, as Ms. King directs. I like the flavors to concentrate and become more dense. After baking, I scooped out the flesh and pureed in a food processor.

I took this for lunch one day this week. As I sat eating, engrossed in Harry Potter, I kept thinking, "Wow, this is good. This is SO good. I've got to post this. Everyone should eat this. So, so good!" Luckily, all my coworkers heard was "Mmmmm! Mmmmm! Mmmmm!"

Squash Casserole
About 4 cups of cooked and pureed dense orange squash or sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. butter
1 large shallot, diced
2 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup whole milk or half and half
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheese (I like an Italian blend with Asiago, Parmesan, Provolone and Mozzarella)
1/2 tube of Ritz crackers
2 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch square baking pan by lining with butter or non-stick spray.

In a small skillet, saute the shallots and sage in the butter over a low flame until the shallots are soft and translucent.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the squash, eggs, milk, salt and pepper and cheese. Stir in the shallots and sage. Pour into prepared bake pan.

Crush the crackers in a food processor or put them in a large Ziploc back and bash them until they become crumbly. Mix in melted butter. Evenly distribute the crumbs over the top of the squash.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as a vegetarian main course.
246 calories per side dish serving.
370 calories per main course serving.

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