For those people who enjoy the juxtaposition of creamy and crunchy, I present to you Parmesan and breadcrumb crusted butternut squash. I realize everyone is dreaming about tomatoes this time of year. Don’t worry, I am too (my plants have tiny FLOWER BUDS ON THEM). But there was this butternut squash in my cabinet that just wouldn’t disappear on its own. I know because every time I ignored it and reached past it for the sweet potatoes it just looked at me with its bulbousness and cute little stem, as though asking “when will you want to eat me???” Finally, after much vegetable guilt, I decided I could do one more winter squash dish, as long as it meant I could try another recipe from Plenty. Being a vegetable cookbook, Plenty has an entire chapter on squash, just in case I wasn’t plagued by procrastination and indecision before. The recipe for crusted pumpkin wedges with sour cream sounded particularly appealing, so here is my lightly adapted butternut squash version minus the sour cream sauce.
Parmesan Crusted Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash (skin on)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon crushed dried parsley (or more fresh)
1 teaspoon minced dried sage leaves (or less if finely ground)
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper (remember the Parmesan is quite salty)
Olive oil for brushing over butternut squash slices
Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash into slices about 1/2 inch thick and distribute in a single layer on a parchment paper-line baking sheet. Use your finger (or a pastry brush) to lightly coat the top and bottom of each slice of butternut squash with olive oil. Mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle the Parmesan mixture onto the butternut squash slices. Bake the squash slices for 30 minutes or until nice and tender. The Parmesan mixture should get crunchy and smell delicious. Eat warm.