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This cheesy squash and rice gratin is an upgrade to the classic casserole

Comfort food gone cute.

Cheesy squash and rice gratin is full of fall flavor

We're in full autumn mode. The leaves have changed; the air is brisk and cool; I brought my sweaters out (even though I haven’t used them yet because I live in Los Angeles); and the markets are full of different varietals of squash and gourds. It’s my favorite time.

Cheesy squash and rice gratin is full of fall flavor
Image: Adrianna Adarme/SheKnows

As a girl who grew up with Latin American parents, rice was a staple at every single meal. I grew up eating long grain white rice but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve looked to different varieties of rice for nutritious benefits. Surprisingly, I now actually prefer the flavor and nuttiness of brown rice. This blend is delicious because it has rye berries (love rye!), brown rice, pearled barley and red rice. It’s the perfect compliment to a cheesy sauce and rounds of sweet delicata squash. The sage and Italian parsley add a delightful freshness and the crispy breadcrumbs on top add a nice texture. This dish is screaming to be made when you’re in search for something to warm up your house and tummy.

Delicata squash and rice gratin recipe

Serves 6 to 8 

Cheesy squash and rice gratin is full of fall flavor
Image: Adrianna Adarme/SheKnows

Cheesy squash and rice gratin is full of fall flavor
Image: Adrianna Adarme/SheKnows

Ingredients:

Rice: 

  • 3/4 cup RiceSelect® Royal Blend® Whole Grain Rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Squash: 

  • 2 small delicata squashes, cut lengthwise in half, seeds removed and then cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt

Roux:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Gruyere
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 sage leaves, minced

Topping: 

  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt
  • 2 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, minced

Cheesy squash and rice gratin is full of fall flavor
Image: Adrianna Adarme/SheKnows

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, combine the rice, water, butter and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and then immediately turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice is tender. Leave covered for an additional 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the slices of delicata squash. Drizzle with olive oil and top with a few pinches of salt. Toss the delicata squash together, until evenly coated, and then spread the squash out so that it is in one even layer. Transfer to the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork. (If it’s slightly al dente, no worries, it’ll cook a bit more later!) Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. In a large pot (it may seem a bit too big, but we’re going to mix everything in it later), set over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the minced shallot and cook for about 1 minute. Add the salt and flour and mix until the flour has cooked, about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and add the minced garlic. Bring the milk mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 2 minutes, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Turn off the heat and stir in the minced sage leaves, Gruyere cheese and Parmesan-Reggiano. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper according to your liking (I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about 5 turns of freshly cracked pepper).
  4. In the large pot, add the cooked rice and squash. Gently fold everything so that it’s combined, just be sure to do it gently so that the squash slices don’t break. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch casserole or baking dish and even out the top using a spatula. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, a pinch of salt and the Parmesan-Reggiano cheese. Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese is melty. Turn on your broiler and transfer the dish under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bread crumbs are toasty and golden brown. Top with minced fresh sage and Italian parsley as garnish.

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between RiceSelect® and SheKnows.

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