BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Butternut Squash is a fall favorite so if you haven’t had a chance to try this yummy and diverse gourd, don’t wait any longer. Butternut Squash is a winter squash that grows on a vine with a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin.
Squashes are a versatile food that offer a variety of health benefits and can be served savory or sweet. Many winter squash are a good source of vitamin A, which helps protect eyes and skin. The squash, which is actually a fruit, contains potassium just like a banana, an important mineral for keeping bones healthy (Produce Market Guide). A single cup of squash contains more vitamin A than the daily recommended amount!
One of the “three sisters” crops of Indigenous American agriculture, the squash has a long and venerable history as a product native to North America, so serve it all autumn long.
Each month the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different ag commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown and raised in the state. For October, Chef Jason Morse of 5280 Culinary brings us a savory squash casserole.
Chef Jason says, “I think side dishes are just as important as the meal and today’s recipe proves it. We take some locally grown Butternut squash, add a nice assortment of ingredients and the result is, well, simply perfect. Happy Cooking!”
Butternut Squash Casserole
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., 5280 Culinary, LLC and Ace Hardware Grill Expert
Yield: Serves 6-8 people
Prep time: 15 minutes
Freeze time: 1 – 1 ¼ hours
4 oz pancetta, diced small
2 medium shallots, diced small
2 ½ lbs butternut squash, washed and peeled, diced large
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black to taste
½ tsp Italian herbs, dried
2 tbsp salted butter
2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup fried onions, chopped
Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
Heat a large, oven safe saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned.
Add the onion and saute until lightly browned.
Add butternut squash, salt, pepper, italian herbs, and butter. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the cream and both shredded cheeses. Cook and stir until combined and thickened. Remove from the heat.
Add the butternut squash mix to the pan
Cover the pan with lid or foil and cook in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes or until squash is tender. Check for doneness at approximately 45 minutes.
Once squash is tender, uncover and add fried onions to the top. Cook for 5 additional minutes to crisp onions.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven (using heat proof gloves), place onto a heat proof surface and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
If you are of legal drinking age and would like to add a wine with your meal check out this 2022 Governor’s Cup Winner from Aspen Peak Cellars 2021 Pinot Gris. For alcohol alternatives, check out Life’s a Buch kombucha from Fort Collins. They offer fun flavors like pineapple mint, blueberry chai, and apple cider.
Visit www.coloradoproud.org for a complete list of recipes.
–Colorado Department of Agriculture