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Summer Squash Gratin

Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish,
4 to 6 as a main dish

This inspiration for this squash casserole recipe came from an issue of Cooking Light magazine. I changed the recipe significantly with one exception, that being the base for the cheese sauce. It is considerably lighter than the traditional made with a flour and butter roux. I prefer using yellow squash for casseroles like this because the flesh is meatier and, in my opinion, tastier than zucchini, but it is delicious with either. Serve as a side dish or a healthy vegetarian main dish. Despite the number of ingredients, the recipe is easy and comes together very quickly. See the similar and related recipes links for a more traditional summer squash casserole.

Ingredients
   Seasoned Breadcrumb Topping

Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine the flour, broth and wine in a medium saucepan; stir well with a whisk. Add the milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often, and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted and smooth.

Spray or grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with cooking or olive oil. Arrange half of the squash in the bottom. Top with half of the onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, half of the oregano and Parmesan cheese. Pour half of the cheese sauce over the top. Repeat the process to make one more layer. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the breadcrumbs. Place the dry ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the olive oil and stir again. Sprinkle over the gratin after it has baked for the 45 minutes. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot, bubbly and lightly browned. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: The original recipe called for 2 pounds of squash and added 2 pounds of sliced precooked potatoes. I did not particularly like the combination, but you might be interested.