Roasted Garlic & Butternut Squash Gratin

Roasting a whole bulb of garlic makes a delicious morsel in its own right but, in this recipe, the roasted bulb is the starting point for an extra-special winter warmer. Added to an ale and Gruyère reduction, the flavoursome garlicky sauce transforms the humble butternut squash into a vegetarian showstopper - perfect for a special feast or family supper.


Ingredients for 4


  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash: peeled, de-seeded, and sliced into 2 cm thick half-moon segments
  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 120ml vegetable stock
  • 80ml winter ale, such as Wight Christmas
  • 180g grated Gruyère cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper


Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C
  2. Tear off the outer papery skin around the garlic bulb, and slice off the top centimetre to expose the tips of the cloves - ensuring the head still remains intact.
  3. Place the bulb onto some aluminium foil and drizzle with a little olive oil. Wrap foil loosely around the garlic and roast in the oven for 40 minutes; then remove it from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 180 C
  5. Arrange butternut squash slices in a baking dish in two overlapping layers.
  6. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion and fry gently, for around 20 minutes, until it starts to caramelise, then add the fresh sage and half the salt.
  7. Once the garlic bulb has cooled sufficiently, unwrap it and separate the cloves. Squeeze out the soft, roasted garlic from each clove directly into the pan of onions and sage. Discard the empty clove skins.
  8. Sprinkle the cornflour into the pan and stir it in briskly.
  9. Pour in the stock and ale.
  10. Add half the grated Gruyère, a handful at a time, stirring until combined before adding more.
  11. Pour the contents of the pan over the squash, then scatter over the remaining Gruyère.
  12. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
  13. Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil and bake the squash for 30-40 minutes, until the squash is well softened and the garlicky-ale mixture is bubbling. Check half way through cooking and add a splash more ale if the butternut squash is looking a little dry.
  14. Serve warm, as a vegetarian centrepiece or substantial side dish.

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