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Potato and Butternut Squash Gratin with Gruyere

12 Seasons CookbookThis is one of the recipes that has been provided by Shirley Cline from San Fransisco. Shirley said "This was prepared on the Today Show this morning by Alfred Portale and looked absolutely wonderful. I thought it looked good enough to post".

For information about Alfred Portale's 12 Seasons Cookbook or to find out more about him have a look at his biography page.

"Potato gratins can be enormously satisfying, especially as rich accompaniments to steaks, but they are also rather one-dimensional. In this recipe, the modest investment of adding butternut squash, and suffusing (spreading) the cream with thyme and marjoram, pays huge dividends as the gratin assumes a more compelling and complex character with virtually no additional work." ~ Alfred Portale


2 pounds butternut squash
3 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
About 2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter a 9-by-12-inch gratin dish. Peel the squash and trim the top and bottom. Cut off the seed-filled bottom, halve it, and remove and discard the seeds. Slice the neck of the squash into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and slice the base into 1/8-inch-thick half circles. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick slices. (A French or Japanese mandolin works very well for this.) 

In a small bowl, combine the thyme, marjoram, and sage.   Beginning with the half circles of squash (reserve the more attractive rounds for the top layers), layer about 1/3 of the squash slices in the gratin dish. Sprinkle with some of the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Layer 1/2 the potato slices over the squash layer. Sprinkle with some of the herbs and 1/2 of the minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. 

Spread another third of the squash slices on the potatoes. Sprinkle with some of the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Spread the remaining potatoes in another layer over the squash and sprinkle some of the herbs and the rest of the garlic. Top with the remaining squash and herbs, and season with salt and pepper.  

While firmly pressing down on the squash and potatoes with a large spoon, spatula, or your fingers, slowly pour the cream over the top and down the sides of the dish. Add enough to just barely cover the vegetables when pressed. Too much cream will result in a soupy gratin. Too little cream will make it dry. 

Cover the dish with foil and bake the gratin for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with the Gruyere. Continue to bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, the cream is nearly absorbed, and the top of the gratin is lightly browned. Let the gratin rest for about 10 minutes to absorb all the cream before serving.

Serves 6

Shirley Cline