This is the casserole that I always seem to make the last week of September. It is loosely based on a recipe from the Greens Cookbook, by Deborah Madison, but simplified. A winter squash gratin with a herb-y, wine-y, tomato sauce and cheese – Gruyere originally, but I have used Jarlsberg, or aged Gouda or Parmesan. —DebsLunch
peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes (2 large tomatoes, 4-5 Romas, or canned)
chopped or sliced leeks or onions
chopped fresh thyme, sage, or parsley whatever you’ve got, or some of all three
Blanch the tomatoes, peel, seed and chop – or open a can! Pour 1 -2 TBLS olive oil in a skillet, warm it, and add the chopped onions or leeks. Cook until the onions have softened, and then pour in the wine. Let most of it boil off, and then add the tomatoes. Cook down until most of the liquid is evaporated, season with salt & pepper, and stir in the herbs. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, peel the squash, cut it into rings, and seed it. Pour a little more olive oil in another skillet, and add the rings, and saute over medium high heat, turning, until they have a little color on both sides, then cover, and reduce the heat and cook until the squash is cooked though, but still firm. Alternatively, lightly oil a baking sheet, and set the squash rings or slices on it, turning them to coat with oil. Bake at 375 about 15 mins. until they have some good color.
Assemble the gratin: lightly oil a baking dish (I put too much oil in the skillet for frying the squash so I poured that into my baking dish), and spoon in a thin layer of tomato sauce. Arrange the squash rings artfully over the sauce. Fit the cheese slices in between the squash, and then spoon the rest of the tomato sauce over the top. Cover the dish with foil, and bake at 375° for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Two of us ate about half the dish with rice, but a greedy squash-lover could easily consume the whole thing – alternatively, it might feed 6 if there were other dishes on offer. You can also use it as the filling for a savory tart, as shown in the picture.