The saga of the 28-pound blue Hubbard squash continues…
A vegetable gratin in winter can be healthy as well as homey. Of course, the healthy quotient depends on the amount of eggs, milk and cheese you add. For this gratin, I took a page from Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health column in the New York Times. Grated raw squash and slivered green cabbage, sautéed together, can be served over healthy grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or barley, or combined with eggs, milk and cheese (with or without the grains) and baked in the oven as a gratin.
When I cut up our record-setting Hubbard squash, I roasted most of it and left the rest raw to give me latitude for experimentation. I’ve sautéed winter squash and cabbage together before, since they’re both dark days staples. This gratin rose to a whole new level, since I layered the bottom of the baking dish with cooked forbidden rice, a black variety that is stunningly beautiful and aromatic. Honestly, you could use any earthy grain, but this was really special. I didn’t go out and buy it. I went fishing through my cupboard, as I often do, hoping to use up the snippets of this and that accumulated over time.
Winter Squash and Cabbage Gratin adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, NYT Recipes for Health
¾ – 1 lb winter squash
¾ lb green cabbage
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ c onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp thyme leaves
Salt and pepper (I used Korean red pepper flakes)
½ c low-fat milk
2 oz grated nutty cheese such as Gruyere (1/2 c)
1 oz grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 c)
1 c cooked black, brown or red rice, or barley, or quinoa
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 1½- or 2-quart baking pan.
Grate the squash on the large holes of a box grater. Thinly slice the cabbage.
If you don’t have cooked grains on hand, start cooking them when you prepare the vegetables.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the onions, cooking until translucent. Add garlic and squash and cook, stirring, until the squash tenderizes, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the cabbage and herbs and the remaining olive oil, and cook, stirring, until fragrant and cooked through (but still slightly crisp), another 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Adjust the seasonings (add salt and/or pepper).
Lightly beat the eggs and add milk, half the cheese, and the squash and cabbage mixture.
Assemble the dish. Place the rice or other grains on the bottom of the baking dish, compacting them slightly so that they stick together. Pour the vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the gratin is set. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.