Cheesy Winter Squash Bake
Look, I dug through all the sugar and found us some vegetables!
One of my favorite tricks to play on myself during seasons of vegetable apathy is to bury greens (or oranges) under melting pats of butter, generous pours of olive oil, or mountains of melted cheese. This is not a sabotage, a cop-out, or a rejection of salads or carrot sticks. It’s just self-imposed bribery.
Of course vegetables aren’t chores and fat isn’t bad, so my bribery is hardly treachery. Really, making a wild thing taste good is probably smart in the long run.
The vegetables involved in this particular production include a whole acorn squash and two carrots. The cheese? It’s Roth Grand Cru, a nutty, aged cheese from Wisconsin that adds tremendous depth to the vegetables in this dish. The cheese, cured in copper vats as the Swiss alpine tradition dictates, melts beautifully on top and within the rice-and-vegetable bake.
As for the dish itself, you’ve seen a version before. Somewhere between a frittata and a soufflé, this baked casserole centers on vegetables (you already heard about those), eggs, rice, and cheese. No one part overwhelms the others, and the resulting wedges present themselves as viable, yet humble breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
The dish is as good at room temperature as hot or cold, and though I got into to talking about this as some way to disguise vegatables with cheese, that’s really not that point. The Cheesy Winter Squash Bake is best understood as an elegant hodgepodge, a nutritious and wholesome way to merge the foods we should eat with the ones we really want to–with the result that we remember how great carrots, squash, and their vegetable brethren are. Almost as good as cheese.
This post is sponsored by Roth Cheese, an alpine-style cheese crafted in Wisconsin. All opinions, as usual, are mine. Thanks for supporting BGSK’s sponsors!
Cheesy Winter Squash Bake
Serves 2 to 4
Leftover rice is ideal, but if you need to cook some up before making this, choose white so you don’t slow yourself down.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 teaspoon minced oregano
1 acorn squash, cut open
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (white or brown; from about 1/2 cup uncooked)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated aged alpine-style cheese like Roth Grand Cru Original (about 4 ounces)
Oil a 9-inch round skillet or baking pan, or a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan very well. (You can use pretty much any baking dish or skillet so long as it holds about 2 quarts.)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Put a little bit of water in the bottom of a pot that has a lid, and, preferably, a steamer basket. Place the squash halves in the steamer basket. Cover and steam the squash for 15 minutes, then remove to let cool. (If you don’t have a basket, put the squash right in the pot.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the carrots are soft and condensed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste to make sure the veggies are salty enough, adding more as needed.
When cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash into a mixing bowl and mash it with the other 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the onion and carrot, chives, and the rice. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese and then taste for salt one last time (this dish really only works if well seasoned).
Finally, mix in the eggs.
Oil the skillet well and pour the mixture back in. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes, until cooked through, melty on top, and pulling away from the edges.
This post is part of Food Network’s Fall Fest. Here are other bloggers’ festive vegetable sides:
The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Warm Roasted Brussels Sprout Apple Salad with Blue Cheese and Pecans
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Lemon Roasted Fennel with Olives and Breadcrumbs #FallFest
Napa Farmhouse 1885: White Beans, Arugula & Sun Dried Tomatoes
Red or Green: Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup with Chile
Virtually Homemade: Green Beans with Brown Butter and Almonds
The Cultural Dish: Kartoffelpuffer: German Potato Pancakes
The Mom 100: Baked Squash with Chili and Maple Syrup
Domesticate Me: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate and Avocado
Taste with the Eyes: Hanukkah Brisket Tamales with Carrot, Onion, and Jalapeño
FN Dish: 5 Seasonal Sides for Your Holiday Table