Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Winter Squash Sformato

This is sort of a fancy squash casserole, with an impressive Italian name, which can be served in place of mashed potatoes if you like.  The combination of ingredients may seem odd at first glance, but I can assure you that I cooked this exactly as written (well, almost; I had no fresh thyme so I substituted basil), and it was a hit.  We served it alongside grilled pork chops and roasted broccoli for an excellent fall supper.

hardly adapted at all from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte, via Epicurious

serves 4 lavishly

1 large winter squash or a few small ones (about 3 lbs of squash total)
1/2 cup crème fraîche, at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded Jack cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or chopped fresh basil, or chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and pierce a few holes in the skin. Place the squash cut side down in a glass baking dish and roast in the oven until soft, 40 to 45 minutes. The timing may vary, so keep an eye on it. You want a few brown blisters and to be able to pierce it easily with a fork. Set aside and let cool.

Put the crème fraîche, Jack cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir to combine.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh away from the skin and put it in a bowl. Add the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and mash the squash until smooth. Add the cheese mixture and stir to combine. Add the egg and nutmeg, giving the mixture a final stir.

Grease an 8 by 8-inch baking dish on all sides and pour in the squash mixture. Turn the oven down to 375°F and bake until brown spots start to show on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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