Cheddar and Thyme Butternut Squash Gratin is a simple, but surprisingly flavorful side dish that pairs well with just about anything.
Looking through my side dish recipes, I realized that – like most side dish recipes – a lot of them feed a crowd! Which is of course a good thing most of the time, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few small-batch options on hand for those times when you’re just cooking for you +1.
This gratin is a great holiday or winter side dish because it’s so hearty. Butternut squash is the base and it’s flavored simply with onion and garlic sautéed in butter. Fresh thyme brightens it up, and a hint of nutmeg makes it interesting. Richness comes in the form of cream (or half and half) and sharp cheddar.
This side dish is equally lovely paired with roast chicken as it is prime rib. It requires minimal hands-on prep so you can spend more time on whatever else you’re serving with it. And it doubles or triples easily if you need to scale it up!
What holiday side dish do you look forward to every year?
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 8 oz (227 g) cubed and cooked butternut squash (I used Straight From the Root Organic Butternut Squash)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream or half and half
- 2 oz (57 g) sharp cheddar, shredded
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Heat the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the butternut squash and use a fork or potato masher to mash about half of it. Stir it all together.
- Transfer the squash mixture to a 2 cup-capacity gratin dish. Pour the cream or half and half on top and sprinkle on the cheese.
- Place the gratin dish on top of a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until bubbling throughout, about 15 minutes. Broil for a couple minutes to brown the top more.
- Serve warm.