Butternut Squash Gratin With Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts Recipe

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This is an elegant remake of the beloved potato gratin (or potato casserole, depending on where you live). Butternut squash and spinach add nutrient density while the goat cheese and half and half provide the richness we all love.

8 - 10
1⁄2 cup hazelnuts
3 1⁄2 pounds butternut squash, about 2 medium peeled, seeded, and cubed, frozen may be substituted
2 tablespoons olive oil
  salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups onions or leeks, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
2 teaspoons nutmeg
5 ounces baby spinach, washed
6 ounces soft goat cheese, chopped
1 cup half and half, or plain, unsweetened hazelnut milk

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Heat the hazelnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until nuts just start to turn a little brown and smell fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.

Place butternut squash, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly. Transfer the seasoned squash onto a baking sheet and roast until just tender and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 375° F.

In a sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onions or leeks, sage, thyme, and nutmeg. Cook 15 minutes, or until onions/leeks are soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach.

Butter a 9×13” baking dish; spread half of the onion mixture over the bottom. Next layer half of the squash and half of the goat cheese. Repeat the layering with rest of the onions/leeks, squash, and goat cheese. Pour the half and half over the gratin. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle them over the top. Bake uncovered until bubbling, about 35 minutes.

Source: Chef Lynda Lacher, Therapeutic Chef