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Author Notes: This recipe is an adaptation from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. Caramelizing the squash first by roasting and then by mashing and frying it in butter brings out its natural sugars. This sweetness is balanced by adding the savory flavors of sage and garlic. At the end, the squash is taken to new heights by adding mozzarella cheese slices and gremolata. Deborah Madison calls it a squash pancake. I have made little adjustments here and there. First, in an effort to maximize the caramelization, I peel and thinly slice the squash to roast it. I also added more garlic as well as a pinch of lemon zest. We served it with roasted chicken legs, steamed broccoli, and biscuits, but I think it would make a delicious vegetarian entree with a nice salad on the side. —Waverly
- 1 butternut squash
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sweet cream butter
- 7-10 fresh sage leaves
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, divided and minced
- 3 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- PREP AND ROAST THE SQUASH: Preheat oven to 400. Chop off ends of squash and then cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. Cut into half moons about 1/4-inch thick. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- REFRY: Place roasted squash in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Melt butter in a large skillet over MEDIUM HIGH heat. When butter begins to brown, lower heat to MEDIUM LOW and add sage leaves and 1 clove minced garlic. Immediately add squash; smoothing the puree into an even layer in the pan. Let it cook until the underside is browned, about 12-15 minutes. Stir and then spread out the mixture evenly in the pan again and let it cook another 12-15 minutes. The goal is to brown it as much as possible. This releases the sugars. Stir it again and spread it out again evenly.
- TOP WITH CHEESE AND GREMOLATA: Place slices of mozzarella cheese on top of squash and cover skillet. Reduce heat to LOW and let it cook until cheese softens and begins to melt, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the parsley, remaining garlic, and lemon zest in a small prep bowl to make a gremolata. When cheese is melted, sprinkle the gremolata over the squash and serve straight from the pan.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Butternut Squash