Back in the beginnings of our life on the farm, we used to grow squash in places where we’d had a burn pit. We’d turn over all the ash, add some compost, and plant a few seeds. Sometimes they were seeds that a friend had from the last year’s crop. The biggest were Hubbards, and they grew to be huge, grey-green, miss formed globes. If we had excess milk from the dairy that needed to be thrown out, it would go on the squash mounds to feed them even more. I suppose seeing how big we could grow them was part of the charm, until we wanted to use them. As we didn’t have a frost-free storage area to store them, we would cook, and then freeze them.
Cutting into a Hubbard squash is not easy. I can remember swinging the splitting maul, just hoping to pierce it enough to pry it open. When we finally did get it open, then we’d need to cut it into chunks that would fit into our trailer’s oven, to be roasted, and then frozen for use later on in the winter. It would take about 3 roastings just to get it all done, from just one squash!
It’s been awhile since we’ve done any major squash growing. It’s just so easy to go to the farmer’s market and buy lovely Butternuts, Acorns, Delicatas, and so many more. They’re a manageable size, and I don’t have to worry about storing them in a frost-free space!
This is a wonderful gratin that really shows off the great flavour that Butternut Squash has. It’s teamed with garlic and kale, with a yummy gratin topping. Even though it is meant as a side, it could easily be served as a main. You’ll just need more!
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Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish.
1 Butternut Squash – about 2½ lbs.
⅓ c parsley (a small handful)
2 good-sized garlic cloves
4 oz of baby kale
¼ c panko breadcrumbs
¼ c finely grated Parmesan
¼ c pecans, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°
Peel, and scoop out the seeds of the squash. Cut the firm squash into 1” chunks, some will be funny little shapes, and that’s ok.
Finely chop the garlic & parsley. Toss together in a bowl. Alternatively, put the garlic & parsley in a processor, and finely chop together.
Lightly oil a gratin dish.
Add in the squash pieces and the garlic & parsley mixture.
Toss together with some salt to season, and a drizzle of oil.
Cover the dish with foil. Pierce the foil to allow some steam to escape. We want the squash to stay firm, not mushy and wet.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and uncover.
Add in the baby kale, using a couple of spoons to mix the squash pieces and kale together.
Mix the panko, Parmesan, and chopped pecans together in a small bowl.
Season the mixture with a bit of salt, and drizzle with some oil. Toss together.
Sprinkle over the mixture of squash and baby kale.
Return the dish, uncovered, to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Serve while piping hot.
Original recipe from ohsheglows.com