Squash and Fontina Casserole Pudding

My dear friend, Tanya, has her own Thanksgiving gathering every year and I helped her prep some dishes – and this one was one of my tasks. I could have eaten it on my very own and not shared a morsel. The funkiness it gets from the Fontina cheese and the awesome flavor from the amount of time the squash cooks down – makes this a must for any fall or winter table.

I was not equipped with the right pan – a Dutch oven – and didn’t fully grasp what I needed to do. I unfortunately used a non-stick skillet. Avoid that if you can. Use a regular skillet if you do not have a Dutch Oven – any cast iron or other pan will suffice. The liquid needs to evaporate!

img_2793From Vivian Howard, Deep Run Roots
Yields 6 servings

4 Medium onion, yellow halved and sliced thin
2 Tbls garlic, fresh minced
2 Tbls bacon drippings *you can substitute butter if you prefer
5 Medium squash, zucchini sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 Medium squash, yellow sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 Tbls sage leaves finely chopped
1 Tbls rosemary, fresh finely chopped
1 Tbls salt, Kosher
1 tsp pepper, black, ground
2 Cups cheese, Fontina grated
1 Large egg, whole
2 Tbls butter
1/4 Cup cornmeal, yellow

Tools Needed:
Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish with Red Plastic Lid
Kuhn Rikon Stainless Steel Epicurean Garlic Press
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven
HIC 6-ounce Porcelain Souffle 3.5-inch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, sweat the onions and garlic in the bacon fat until translucent. Add the squash, sage, rosemary, salt and black pepper. Stir it all to combine and cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes, stirring periodically to make sure the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn. You are looking for the squash to release all its liquid, dry out, and take on a deep golden hue.

Remove the pan from the heat. While things are still steamy, stir in the Fontina. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Then stir in the egg.

Butter a 9×13-inch casserole dish and dust the inside of the dish with cornmeal. Alternatively, you could use eight, 6-ounce ramekins and make individual casseroles. Fill whichever vessel you choose 3/4 of the way with the squash mixture. Bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes. (15 to 20 minutes for the small ramekins). You want the top and edges to be browned.

Serve warm.


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