"Bliss" says it all, and if you're a lover of butternut squash like I am then you know it's gotta be good! This layered, sweet and savory gratin is made all the more enticing with herby, caramelized shallots in the center. —vrunka
Peel the squash and separate the bulb from the long neck. Cut the neck into manageable lengths (about 3 inches long) and then slice the pieces lengthwise, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. You should wind up with about 8-12 slices that are something like 2 inches by 3 inches square. For the bulb, split it in half and remove the seeds. Slice the bulb in long strips about ½ inch thick.
Toss all the pieces in olive oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes until the pieces are slightly brown and soft. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the shallots. Saute for 2 minutes, then add a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally and continue to braise for 20 minutes. Add the sage, saute for about a minute more and then remove from heat.
Reduce the oven heat to 375F.
In a 9 inch pie pan, lay down a single layer of the square squash pieces, trimming them if necessary to make a flat layer that completely covers the bottom. Add a layer of the shallot mixture, then a layer of the crumbled goat cheese. Sprinkle a bit of black pepper over the top. Repeat with another layer of square squash pieces, shallots and goat cheese. Top off the gratin with the rounded bulb pieces which you can fan out symmetrically over the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is brown and melty.