• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes, making about 5 cups
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup half-and-half
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small sauté pan. Add the breadcrumbs, and toast over medium heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool, and toss in a small bowl with the cheese.
2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Place the squash in a large bowl, and toss with the garlic, melted butter, flour, salt and pepper.
3. Butter a small baking dish, and spoon the mixture into it. Pour the half-and-half over, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top, and continue to bake, uncovered, until golden-brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Test for doneness with a paring knife; the squash should be completely tender. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
Tip: Butternut squash loses its moisture toward the end of its season, so if you're making the gratin in late winter, increase the half-and-half amount to 3/4 cup.