This delicious rustic recipe makes a great vegetarian dinner or a pretty side dish (and great leftover, FYI). It also happens to be simple to put together: Yellow squash is layered in a jumble with sliced red potato and goat cheese. No cream is needed at all.
Don't bother layering the vegetables in a pretty scalloped pattern. I practically throw the potato and squash slices in the pan, all mixed up together. Tastes the same, right?
The only complicated part is slicing the vegetables paper-thin. A mandoline is the perfect tool for this (they're not expensive, and they come in handy for so many dishes), but if you don't have one, you'll just need a bit more time and a very sharp knife.
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There's not a ton of cheese and no cream (just a splash of milk to keep it tender), so the fresh taste of the vegetables is front and center. I like to sprinkle my gratin with basil or thyme at the end for a little color, but you can omit if it's hard to find fresh herbs in winter. Zucchini can also stand in for yellow squash if the latter proves elusive.
POTATO, SQUASH AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN
- 2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound
- 4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Use a mandoline or chef's knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.
Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish -- no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread evenly -- then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil or thyme, if using.
(Elizabeth Passarella is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking.)
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