Butternut Squash Gratin Recipe

Slice the potatoes as you use them in each layer (rather than all at once), to help prevent oxidation. Brought to the table by Chef John Zucker of Cru Café in Charleston, South Carolina.

Butternut Squash Gratin
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck
Hands On Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
8 servings


  • 1 (3-lb.) butternut squash

  • 1 (3-lb.) spaghetti squash

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 cups whipping cream

  • 5 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 1/2 lb.)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 4 cups (16 oz.) freshly shredded fontina cheese*

  • Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs


  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Cut butternut and spaghetti squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut sides up, in a lightly greased 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with butter, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bake 40 minutes or until tender. Cool 20 minutes.

  2. Using a fork, scrape inside of spaghetti squash to remove spaghetti-like strands, and place in a large bowl. Scoop pulp from butternut squash; coarsely chop pulp, and toss with spaghetti squash.

  3. Stir together cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar.

  4. Cook cream in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or just until it begins to steam (do not boil); remove from heat.

  5. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

  6. Arrange one-fourth of potato slices in a thin layer on bottom of a buttered 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Spoon one-third of squash mixture over potatoes (squash layer should be about 1/4-inch thick); sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 cup fontina cheese, and 3/4 cup hot cream. Repeat layers twice, sprinkling one-third of sugar mixture over each of second and third squash layers. (Do not sprinkle sugar mixture over first squash layer.) Top with remaining potato slices, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Gently press layers down with back of a spoon. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup cheese and 3/4 cup hot cream; sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture. Place baking dish on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

  7. Bake, covered with foil, at 450° for 1 hour; uncover and bake 25 more minutes or until golden brown and potatoes are tender. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes before serving.

Chef's Notes

*Gouda cheese may be substituted.

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