Squash gratin ideal for now

March 26, 2000|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

When entertaining during this season, I try to plan what I call transitional meals. I blend hearty dishes redolent of winter with lighter ones.

A good example of this type of menu is one I recently created. The main course will include orange-glazed roast pork tenderloin served with asparagus, plus a gratin of butternut squash with Gruyere cheese and rosemary. For the gratin, I saute chopped leeks and diced squash in a little butter and combine them in a baking pan. I add rosemary-scented cream to the dish and finally a topping of shredded Gruyere cheese. The gratin can be baked several hours ahead and reheated later.

Gratin of Butternut Squash With Rosemary and Gruyere

Serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing baking dish

1 large or 2 medium leeks, cleaned, with white and light- green parts chopped

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 -inch dice to make 7 cups (see note)

3/4 cup half and half

3/4 cup whipping cream

2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus several rosemary sprigs for garnish

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

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