Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin

Serves 6. Recipe is from Betty Crocker.

1 butternut squash (about 2½ pounds)

¼ cup butter

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

¼ cup Panko-style bread crumbs (Plain or Italian flavored)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon black pepper or to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

*Note: I have seen recipes with 3-4 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon added along with the parsley topping

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Cut off both ends of squash. Peel squash with vegetable peeler. Remove outer layer, with the vegetable peeler, until you’re at the deep-gold flesh. Cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds and stringy inside. Cut into ½-inch thick slices.

3. Arrange in baking dish with slices slightly overlapping, if possible.

4. In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add garlic. Cook 2 or 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft but DO NOT let the butter brown.

5. In small bowl, mix bread crumbs, cheese and 1 tablespoon of the butter/garlic mixture.

6. Brush the squash slices with the remaining butter/garlic mixture.

7. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and the bread crumb mixture.

8. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

9. Increase oven temperature to 475 F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

10. Before serving, sprinkle with parsley (and cooked, crumbled bacon if desired).