Butternut Squash and Kale Gratin

Like most of the recipes you find on our newsletter and food blog, the technique is highlighted rather than actual step-by-step instruction. This allows the preparer to better change out ingredients and be inspired rather than dictated. In this edition, I will show you a simple technique for making a gratin with butternut squash and kale, layered with seasonings and parmesan cheese and finished with a good drink of cream. Granted, what doesn’t taste better than vegetables baked with parm and cream? This recipe is adapted from a more complex version of Martha Stewart’s without as much “Martha”. Pictured here with a Maine lobster trapped earlier that day, this side dish will be a regular companion for your fall and winter dinner table.

This versatile side dish is a seasonal companion for many of our fall/winter meals
First, a few words on tools. For peeling squash and other thick-skinned vegetables, I choose the peeler by Rosle. You may find this implement at Ileoni Kitchen store here in Petaluma on Kentucky St. This peeler is by far the one to own. I have had several in the past ten years, often gifting it to guests and buying a new one for myself. Do yourself a favor and buy this peeler. While at Ileoni you might want to pick up a nice mandolin for slicing the squash in consistent thin slices, much easier to use than a knife a mandolin is an essential and frequently used tool in my kitchen. Finally, a good grater is in order. I use a course grater for this recipe meaning it grates a larger shred than the finer normal shave used for pasta or pizza. The grater is also easily used in other applications and again, a frequently used tool in my kitchen.

A Rosle peeler is essential for tackling winter squash.
Ingredients- Feel free to use variety of squash or kale

1 3# butternut squash or 2 smaller

1 bunch dino kale

4 oz shredded parmesan cheese (not the canned stuff)

1 pint cream (or half and half)

Salt and pepper (Espellete gives a nice brightness)


Peel the squash and cut the “bulb” off, slice the bulb in half and scope out the seeds. Use a mandolin to slice the squash sections ¼” thick.

Rough chop the kale.


Preheat oven to 350°

Place a layer of squash slices on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss about 1/3 of the kale on and arrange it evenly. Add 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Repeat for a total of three layers remembering to season each layer.

Pour in the pint of cream (or until the cream is about half way up the baking dish)

Cover with a piece of parchment wrapped around the whole dish.

Bake for 45 minutes and test for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into the squash. It should be soft and not resist the knife. Remove the paper and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.