Extra! Extra! 85 pounds of food from one plant.

Help!  Today has brought in a rainy September morning and a houseful of the ubiquitous butternut squash.   I just can't believe that one plant could produce 17 (!!!) giant squashes (85 pounds).   Some will go to the food shelf and some will go to friends (watch out). The truth is, I thought that I had planted delicata squash, which is my favorite, not butternut.  Whoops.  Soups, gratins, and stuffed squash will be on our table this fall and, thankfully, the squashes keep well into winter, but I am sure my people will be tired of eating butternut long before it runs out. Here is a recipe I love, and it will use up about 1/17th of my harvest....

Butternut, Cheddar and Sage Gratin

This needs only a green salad.  It's a hearty dish.

  • one peeled and cubed (1/2" or so) butternut squash
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced, fresh sage leaves
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 6 oz grated cheddar cheese (I like sharp)

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in a cast iron or other heavy skillet.  Over medium heat, add onion to melted butter and stir until it begins to soften (about 4 minutes). Add sage leaves and garlic.  Drizzle in some olive oil (about 1 or 2 TBS) and stir until fragrant and onions start to caramelize. (About 12 minutes)

Add squash to a butter or oiled 9 x 13" baking dish.  Toss in the onion and sage mixture, the cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Use your hands or utensils to get a good blend of all the ingredients.  Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  Take out the dish, remove the foil, turn up the oven to 450, cover squash with the cheddar cheese and return to oven until brown and bubbly, about another 20 to 30 minutes.  You can even turn on the broiler for a minute or two at the end to really make the top brown.

This freezes well.  It's great for potlucks and any other time you want to feed a crowd.