Virginia Willis shows us that gratin can be way more enticing and more interesting with the addition of greens and butternut squash!

Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin


2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more for the gratin dish

2 butternut squashes, (about 3 pounds total), cut in half lengthwise and seeded

1 (10-ounce) bag chopped kale

2 tablespoons pure olive oil

6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground allspice

Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons plain or whole-wheat fresh or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 
21/2 ounces)


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a large gratin dish.
Peel the squash, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices; set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the kale and cook until just
tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then squeeze out any excess water.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the
well-drained greens. Cook until the greens are slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and
adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place half the sliced squash in the prepared dish and season with salt
and pepper. Combine the nutmeg, allspice, and thyme in a small bowl. Spoon the
kale over the squash and sprinkle with half the seasoning mixture. Top with remaining
squash and sprinkle with the remaining seasoning.
Pour the cream over the gratin and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake for 25
minutes, remove the foil, and press down on the squash with a spatula to compress.
Cover and continue baking until the squash is soft when pierced with the tip of a knife,
about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Season with
salt and pepper. Decrease the oven temperature to 375°F. Remove the foil from the
gratin dish and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the squash. Dot with the butter and
continue baking, uncovered, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire
rack to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8-10.

Reprinted with permission from Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company by Virginia Willis, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

*Photo credit: Helene Dujardin© 2011.*