The Recipe Spot
The Recipe Spot
Special to the Observer
Without getting too astronomically technical, the first day of autumn is this Saturday, September 22, which extends from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice, officially marking the end of summer.
Soon, summer will be just a faint memory as autumn arrives, the season of harvest, celebrating the bounty of the agriculture season.
But with scorching temperatures practically hitting the century mark and the hot, blasting Santa-Ana winds that blow in from the Mojave Desert, notorious of September and October in Southern California, there is barely a hint of autumn’s fall foliage.
Mineral-rich leaves haven’t begun to mature, falling from deciduous trees like they have in many parts of the country, leading to the splendid array of bright and intense shades of orange, gold, yellow, red and brown. Once fallen, there is the time-honored task of raking the blanket of leaves, which are a perfect addition to the compost pile.
Once the October heat wave diminishes during this transitional time of year where a bit of crispness fills the evening air with the first scent of wood burning fireplaces, it’s time to think about food that warms the soul.
As autumn days grow shorter and the nights longer, hearty soups and stews will ward off the chill of a cool autumn evening.
Instead of the usual salad, regardless of the time of year, this mouth-watering recipe for Parmesan-Butternut Squash Gratin is an ideal side dish to serve with your favorite main course chicken or beef.
Parmesan-Butternut Squash Gratin
1 butternut squash (2 ½ lb)
¼ cup butter
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Fresh chopped parsley
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly Spray a 13 x 9 (3 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Peel, halve lengthwise and see squash and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange slices overlapping slightly in baking dish.
Melt butter over low heat and add garlic. Cook about 2-3 minutes stirring frequently until the butter is infused with the garlic. Don’t let butter brown.
In a small bowl mix bread crumbs, cheese and 1 TBSP of the butter-garlic mixture.
Brush the squash with the remaining butter-garlic mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and bread crumb mixture.
Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until squash is tender. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned.
Before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley.