Butternut + Cannellini Gratin
This is a favourite warming winter or autumn dinner. It’s crispy-topped, with a sweet butternut, lemon and herb filling. It’s super-easy to put together and is made from simple stuff that I usually have to hand.
Try experimenting with other squashes if you find them in the greengrocer’s, as they all cook in roughly the same amount of time. Mixing a few different colours and shapes can be really pretty and make it more interesting to eat.
If you are vegan, or if you just fancy changing this up, you can add a handful of chopped almonds in place of the cheese; it’s not the same, but it’s just as good.
3 red onions olive oil
1kg butternut or other orange- fleshed squash
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 × 400g tins of cannellini beans, or 500g home-cooked beans
300ml hot vegetable stock
3 thick slices of good sourdough or wholemeal bread
150g Gruyère cheese
Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 and get all your ingredients and equipment together.
Roughly slice the onions. Put a wide, shallow ovenproof saucepan on a medium heat, add a good glug of olive oil and fry the onions until soft and sweet.
Cut the squash into large dice, discarding the seeds (there is no need to peel), then add to the softened onions with the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and continue cooking until the squash has coloured a little at the edges and is starting to soften; this will take about 10 minutes.
Take off the heat and add the drained cannellini beans, then season with salt and black pepper, squeeze over the juice of the lemon.
Pour over the stock, then tear the bread over the top. Grate over the Gruyère or sprinkle over the chopped almonds, if you like. Bake for 35–45 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the stock is bubbling around the edges.