Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Walnut Crust




2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled
1-1/4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream (I used fat free half and half...but on a special occasion would use the cream!)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, combined with
2 tbsp. melted butter


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8 inch (2 quart) glass or ceramic baking dish. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Slice the squash and potatoes about 1/8 inch thick (use a mandoline if you have one).

Line the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of squash (overlapping slightly), season lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle with a little of the Parmesan, and drizzle with a little of the cream. Cover with a layer of potato slices, season with salt, pepper, cheese and cream. Repeat with the remaining squash and potatoes until the dish is full, ending with a top layer of squash, seasoned and topped with any remaining cheese and cream. (You may have extra squash, and extra potatoes if you used sweet potatoes!). Press down lightly to distribute the cream and compact the layers. The last layer of squash should be just sitting in the cream, but not covered by it.

Cover the dish with foil and bake until the vegetables feel tender when poked with a thin, sharp knife (check the middle layer), about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Combine the walnuts and buttered bread crumbs. Remove the gratin from the oven, sprinkle with the breadcrumb-nut mixture, and bake until the top is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes before serving so that liquids will set and tighten the gratin. Cut into 9 squares and serve.

Author's Comments

This is a wonderful fall recipe. We loved this as a healthy vegetarian meal....lots of vitamins. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving, as as replacement for the ever-present marshmallow and canned sweet potatoes side dish. I used my food processor to chop everything---doing it by hand would take longer than I've indicated here!

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