Monday, October 11, 2010
Step one in my quest to use up all our butternut squashes from the garden: Butternut Squash, Creamed Spinach Gratin.
I found a recipe on epicurious and tweaked it a bit. Here's what I did.
4 pounds spinach
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
5 pounds butternut squash (I think this is two normal sized ones, but was just one of our giant ones.)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
First step is to make the creamed spinach. Every recipe I've ever seen has you boil the spinach first, but I always think that's weird because you're adding water you end up having to take out. So, after washing it and removing the stems, I just heat a big pan over medium heat, throw in the spinach in with about a tablespoon of water to keep it from sticking, put a lid on and steam it for about 2 minutes. With this much spinach I had to work in batches, but I still think it's faster than boiling a giant pot of water and blanching it. And at the end there are fewer dishes.
Once all your spinach is cooked, and cooled a bit, squeeze it out and chop it.
Using the same pan you steamed the spinach in, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until warmed through. Add the nutmeg, cream, and about a teaspoon of salt and a little pepper and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about a third and set aside.
preheat your oven to 400º.
Peel your butternut squash and slice it into 1/8" slices.
Then it's time to assemble the gratin. Grease a baking dish that's about 9"x13" with a little butter. Arrange a layer of butternut squash slices, followed by a layer of spinach 4 times, beginning and ending with a layer of butternut squash (5 layers squash, 4 layers spinach), using the funny looking butternut squash slices in the bottom layers and saving the pretty ones for the top layer.
Pour any extra cream left in the spinach pan on top, dot it with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the cheese.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminium foil and bake for about 35 minutes, until the liquid starts bubbling. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the top is browned and the liquid thickened.