Topped with crunchy pecans, this Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole is a delicious Autumn side dish. It’s now a staple in our house!
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Laura, Robbie and I headed over to Dellavale Farm this past weekend. Dellavale Farm is located in Pattersonville, NY which is just under 30 minutes away from our house. As we neared the farm, we rounded a corner in the road and saw a huge field packed with pumpkins. I immediately got excited, and I heard a “Woah!” from the backseat.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then Dellavale Farm might sound familiar. Dellavale is one of several hundred Cabot farms located in Vermont and New York. The milk produced at Dellavale is used to make the delicious Cabot cheese that we always keep in our fridge. It’s really quite something to see where our food comes from! In fact, I took Robbie to visit Farmer Terri at Dellavale last summer. He enjoyed his visit to the farm, and he made friends with Renee the Cow. (And we’ve talked about Renee at least weekly for the past year.)
When the pumpkin picking event popped up, I told Robbie that we were heading back to the farm to visit Renee. He looked at me for a moment, and then the biggest grin spread across his face. “Dad, can we take some corn for Renee?” Robbie remembers feeding Renee corn (whole ears!) last time we visited, so we made sure to pick up some corn at the store last week.
Before heading over to the farm, I sent Farmer Terri a quick note to say that we were coming and Robbie was excited to see Renee. That’s when I learned that Renee had actually moved up the road to her winter home. She’s alive and well, but she’s just not at Dellavale. I immediately cringed at the thought of breaking this news to Robbie. Sure enough, when I told him that Renee was at a different farm, he broke down crying. Like full-on tears and genuine heart-broken crying. I felt terrible for the little guy.
This story does have a happy ending, though, as Farmer Terri introduced Robbie to Cupcake. Terri had told me that Cupcake likes apples, so we brought a bag of apples with us. All the way to the farm, Robbie kept wondering what color Cupcake the Cow would be. (Turns out Cupcake is white with black spots.) While Robbie was sad that Renee wasn’t there, he made a new cow friend, and now he’s been telling us all about Cupcake this past week. Too cute!
In addition to meeting Cupcake and feeding her apples, we also picked 3 pumpkins to bring back home with us. I’ve never had the opportunity to walk through a pumpkin patch and pick our own pumpkins! I have to say that it was pretty darned cool. We picked 2 large, and 1 gigantic pumpkin. Oh, and Robbie picked a small gourd for himself, too. We’ll be carving the 2 large ones, and we’ll probably leave the gigantic one (and Robbie’s gourd) out as Thanksgiving decorations. I’m not kidding when I say gigantic, either – it takes everything I’ve got to wrap my arms around this pumpkin and lift it!
Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole
Pumpkins weren’t the only gourds available at the farm. We also picked up a couple butternut squash. I love roasting butternut squash as an easy Autumn side dish. However, this time I wanted to take that roasted squash to the next level. And that’s where this Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole comes in. I’m telling you – this casserole is amazing!
Instead of roasting the butternut squash, I diced it into small pieces and then boiled it until it was super soft. A quick stir will break apart the squash, and you’ll be left with a bowl of butternut squash puree. Add in some sour cream, butter, Cabot’s Monterey Jack cheese and fresh thyme, and you’ve got a tasty puree. (As a side note, this puree can be served at this point. It’s quite good!)
However, I went one extra step and topped that puree with a Panko bread crumb + sharp cheddar cheese + pecan topping. The flavor and crunch from the topping combined with the creaminess of the puree is out of sight! I’m not kidding when I say that this Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole will become a new staple Thanksgiving side dish in our house. It’s creamy, flavorful and perfect for Autumn!
Farmer Terri did a great job opening up the farm for folks to come pick their own pumpkins. I can tell you that picking our own pumpkins will become a new tradition in our house. (And, yes, we’ll be sure to bring apples each year so we can stop by and feed Cupcake!) In the meantime, though, we have plenty of chilly nights coming our way. In fact, we had our first snow of the season here last night. That means comfort food is on the menu, and this Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole is one heck of a delicious comfort food. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place a large pot of water over high heat. Once boiling, add diced butternut squash. Boil until squash are very tender. (Note: A fork should easily pierce through the squash cubes when done.)
- Drain water and return squash to pot. Add 6 Tbsp of butter. Sauté squash, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until butter has completely melted and most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir squash until smooth. (Note: If necessary, a food processor can be used to stir squash, but it should be soft enough to stir with a spoon.)
- Transfer squash puree into a large bowl. Add sour cream, thyme and Monterey Jack cheese; stir until well combined.
- Spread mixture into a 9”x13” baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, stir the panko bread crumbs with the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter (melted), cheddar cheese and chopped pecans. Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of squash.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top has browned.
Looking for more cheesy goodness? Take a peek at these other recipes inspired by our visits to Dellavale Farm!