Sweet & Savory

Fresh butternut squash isolated on a white background

Arriving at the market before pumpkins, butternut squash signals the fall and winter. Butternut squash is a member of the winter squash family with a long shelf life; they can sit on your counter for up to four months.  No rush here!  So tasty, they won’t last that long.  Nutty, sweet flavor can easily straddle the sweet and savory fence.

Pick squash that are heavy for their size.  Skin should be blemish-free, with the exception of some scratches from harvest and the trip to the market. To make peeling winter squash a bit easier, poke holes in the skin with a fork, and microwave the butternut squash for five minutes. Allow to cool then peel with a vegetable peeler, and slice off the top and bottom.  Half the peeled squash, scoop out the seeds and chop.  Chopped squash lasts up to a week in the fridge.  Of course, you could skip all the work, and pick up some chopped butternut in the produce section.

img_1311Butternut Squash and Kale Strata

This recipe is great for potluck events or to feed a crowd for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Servings 8-10 Prep time: 30 min Cook time: 45 min

• 2 tsp olive oil

• 1 med. onion, chopped

• 1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

• 1 c kale, torn into rough pieces

• 12 eggs

• 1 ½ c milk

• ½ c light cream

• 1 ½ tsp kosher salt

• ¼ tsp nutmeg

• 1, 1 lb loaf Italian bread, cubed*

• 8 oz Swiss cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place a skillet over medium heat.  Coat pan with oil and add butternut squash and onion.  Cook until softened, stirring often, approximately 10 min.
  3. Add kale and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.
  4. To make the custard, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, salt and nutmeg.
  5. In a greased 9” x 13” glass baking pan, sprinkle ⅓ c. cheese.  Place half the bread cubes over the cheese.
  6. Evenly place the squash mixture over the bread.  Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese, spread the remaining bread over the squash and top with the remaining cheese.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over the casserole.  Press the bread into the egg mixture until all of the bread has absorbed the custard.
  8. Bake for 45 min.  Allow to sit 10 min before serving.

*Stale, three-day-old bread works great here.  Feel free to use any plain bread you may have.  It doesn’t have to be an Italian loaf.

 

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