Butternut Gratin

October 24, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Oddur Thorisson
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I’m as fond as anyone of a simple steak frites dinner. Sometimes I make a Béarnaise sauce, but sometimes, especially if the wine is good, it’s enough to serve the steak with just a spoonful of Dijon mustard. I always have some greens to go with it, steamed haricots verts or spinach or just a simple salad. Sometimes I have a small steak and lots of spinach. That’s when my husband thinks I’ve read some article and I’m suddenly on a diet. But that would never happen. It’s just that sometimes French fries are…well, not exactly what I am looking for, and then I need an alternative. If it’s pumpkin season, this gratin is one of the best. Steak pairs really well with roasted squash, and this gratin version makes the duo even more satisfying. —Mimi Thorisson

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Comté cheese
  • A few fresh chives, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/180° C. Butter a 10-inch/25-centimeter baking dish.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, 4 minutes. Add the squash slices and nutmeg and cook until slightly tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the squash mixture to the baking dish. Pour the cream all over, sprinkle the bread crumbs and cheese on top, and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
  4. Bake until golden and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the chives.

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Mimi Thorisson is the author of Manger, a blog devoted to French cooking, and the host of La Table de Mimi on Canal+ in France. After a career in television and having lived in Hong-Kong, Singapore, London, Reykjavik, and Paris, she settled with her photographer husband, five young children, two older stepchildren, and the family's fourteen dogs in a rural farmhouse in Médoc.

22 Reviews

janet T. February 11, 2020
I made this with kojinut squash that I found at the farmers' market. I had asked for butternut and urged to try this cross between butternut and kabocha. It's not only delicious but doesn't have to be peeled! I just slice it on a handheld mandoline and use it as directed. It's great.
Shayna October 7, 2018
Made this and was a HUGE hit with kids (2 and 10mo) and husband. I used Panko bread crumbs and added cauliflower and kale to the recipe and it is AMAZING. Seems like you could pretty much add anything.
Lawrence P. March 9, 2018
Sounds hella good
Ellie I. January 1, 2016
I made this with pumpkin and gruyere. The combination of sweet onions and squash with the salty cheese was wonderful.
Kristinka November 23, 2015
Any way to make this ahead, or must it be served immediately out of the oven?
julie November 19, 2015
Could you use a spiralizer?
Jen! November 27, 2014
Just made this for thanksgiving. With a mandolin it's a piece of cake. All of our guests raved about this dish. It's a keeper!
PJ November 19, 2014
Just remember that bread crumbs are not gluten free unless you use a gluten free bread...
Donna November 5, 2014
I avoid recipes like this because peeling butternut squash and slicing thing seems an archaic and very time consuming task. Any suggestion for making it a realistic and reasonable process?
Kerri F. November 5, 2014
You can buy it already peeled and cut from Trader Joe's.
Donna November 5, 2014
Yes, I know. However, it is often not available at Trader Joes (right now they have pumpkin and no butternut) and it is cubed, not thinly sliced which makes a huge difference in cooking times and the nature of the dish. I haven't seen it sliced anywhere. Whole Foods also has it cubed, but it is outrageously expensive compared to Trader Joes!
CarlaCooks November 11, 2014
A mandolin makes quick work of thinly slicing anything (and in fact works really well with harder vegetables like pumpkins and butternut squash). I figure if I'm going to eat the butter and cream, I can put in a bit of work ;)
Barb168 November 7, 2015
Microwave the squash briefly before peeling! Wipe it clean, cut off the top and bottom, poke holes all over it with a fork, and microwave about 4 minutes. It will peel very easily.
carol October 19, 2018
I realize it's 4 years later, but just noticed your question. I too, didn't like to mess with butternut squash until I came across a cheap little peeler that makes easy, quick work of peeling the squash. I got it at Wm.Sonoma for about $4 or $5. It's one of those 2-2.5 inch wide ones. I lay the squash on my cutting board, holding it up at the top and just make long strokes toward me. It's perfect because it doesn't take half of the squash. and when I'm done, I just remove the top and the bottom of the squash, cut it in half, remove the seeds and chop it up! It's awesome. Better than trying to handle a hot squash and getting burned. Been there, done that!
Flexitarian October 23, 2018
try looking in the frozen foods section for cubed/pre-cut butternut squash
Sharon K. November 17, 2018
I put it in the microwave for a few minutes so it is easy to cut and peel. Makes a big difference.
Camilla November 3, 2014
I made this last night with a sharp white cheddar. So easy and delicious! I look forward to using this recipe as a model for other squash gratins through the cold season.
Anna November 1, 2014
What other type of cheese could replace the Comte cheese in this recipe?
Kerri F. October 29, 2014
Do you have to pre-roast the butternut squash or are you starting off with a raw squash?
Phillie F. October 30, 2014
I made this last night and you start off with a RAW squash.
Michi October 28, 2014
how thin is "thinly sliced"
Phillie F. October 30, 2014
I sliced mine on a mandolin and sliced it approximately 1/8 inch.