Winter squashes, though available nearly year round, are mainstays of many traditional holiday tables. Squashes can be prepared in an infinite variety of ways—sweet or savory, cubed, stuffed, or mashed—and it’s a natural for a casserole. Butternut squash is one of the best known and wellloved for its sweet, nutty flavor and smooth texture when cooked.
One take on the squash casserole gained popularity through Mollie Katzen’s famous 70s vegetarian classic, Moosewood Cookbook. This recipes’ inclusion of bell peppers of any color and corn kernels gives it crunch and visual appeal. Another variation, authentically called Guiso de Zappallo, is more of a creamy affair with fresh basil and white wine.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 large butternut squash (or 800 grams), peeled and cubed (without seeds)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp of fresh basil, rinsed
- salt and pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk or orig. soy milk
- 1 small container light cream cheese (I recommend using Tofutti cream cheese.)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese for topping if desired
- Set oven at 375 F. In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil and butter at medium heat. Add the chopped green onion and cook while stirring, about five minutes or until it becomes golden. Add the diced butternut squash and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Add the white wine and fresh basil. You might want to monitor the basil since it shrinks so much. Add more if you see fit.
- Wait until the mixture boils, reduce heat, and cook another five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and perhaps some red pepper if you like some heat. Set aside this mixture.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs (or egg substitute), the milk, and a couple tablespoons of parmesan cheese (if desired). Set aside.
- Butter the bottom of a medium-to-large sized casserole dish. Fill the dish with the squash and basil mixture.
- Cut the cream cheese or Tofutti cream cheese into small chunks. Prudently distribute the chunks in the squash mixture. You don’t have to use the entire cream cheese block if you think it’s too much. It’s just to make the casserole a bit more creamy.
- Season again if desired with more pepper and/or cayenne pepper. Pour the reserved egg and milk mixture on top.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top if you would like. Bake at medium temperature until the top of the casserole is bubbly and golden. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with Chilean merquen if possible.