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Seasons

Butternut squash crumble

(Beatrice Peltre for The Boston Globe)
November 4, 2009

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Serves 4

Winter squashes like butternut are beautiful baked, sauteed, or used in hearty soups, gratins, and casseroles. They’re also delicious in a savory crumble. The idea behind this dish is simple: Imagine a traditional sweet crumble in which seasonal fruit is baked under a crispy topping of flour, sometimes nuts or oats, sugar, and butter. Replace the fruit with vegetables, and the sugar with fresh herbs and cheese. The preparation involves two steps. To start, mix the topping: flour, walnuts, Parmesan, parsley, and butter. Then stew the squash with tomatoes, ground coriander, and sage. When it’s creamy, add Parmesan to this mixture, too. Any of the winter squashes such as red kuri or acorn squash can be used for this dish. To peel red kuri and other hard-skinned squash, halve and seed it, then cut it into smaller pieces. Use a small knife to remove the skin from each piece. In either case, assemble the crumble ahead of time and bake it later. That simplifies any menu and makes the crumble a good choice for a weekend supper when guests are around.

TOPPING

1 cup flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons butter, diced and at room temperature
1.In a bowl, combine the flour, walnuts, parsley, Parmesan, and a generous sprinkle of pepper.

2. Add the butter and work with your fingertips until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Cover and refrigerate.

SQUASH

Butter (for the dish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1 peeled butternut squash, cut into 1-inch dice
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1. Generously butter a 10-inch baking dish.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the butter and when it melts, cook the onion, coriander, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until softened.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the butternut squash, sage, salt, and pepper. Turn down the heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables soften.

4. Set the oven at 350.

5. Discard the bay leaf from the squash mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan; stir gently. Transfer the vegetables to the baking dish. Spoon the crumble mixture on top.

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden. Béatrice Peltre