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Originally published Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Recipe: Butternut Squash and Pecan Gratin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet...

8 servings

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

- ¾ cup pecans

- 3 pounds butternut squash

- 2 teaspoons olive oil

- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

- 1 cup heavy cream

- 1 cup milk

- 1 teaspoon kosher salt

- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

- 4 ounces fresh, mild goat cheese

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- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven 5 to 7 minutes, or until fragrant and deepened in color. Set aside to cool, then chop coarsely.

2. To make a whole squash easier to cut, pierce in several places with a paring knife. Microwave at 100 percent power 2 minutes, then rotate and repeat. Remove from the oven and set aside 5 minutes. Cut the ends off of the squash, then cut into large chunks. Seed, peel and slice ¼-inch thick.

3. Heat remaining tablespoon butter with 2 teaspoons oil in a deep, 12-inch sauté pan or Dutch oven on medium heat. When sizzling, add onion and sauté 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add cream, milk, salt and pepper; bring to a simmer. Add squash and simmer gently 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.

4. Transfer half of squash mixture to the prepared pan and dot with half of the goat cheese. Spoon remaining squash mixture on top and dot with remaining cheese. Place on a sturdy baking sheet and bake 45 minutes or until the squash is very tender and the cream is almost absorbed. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

From "Gratins: Savory and Sweet Recipes from Oven to Table" by Tina Salter

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