Serves: 10 to 12
Hands On Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 onions, diced
4 pounds yellow squash, halved, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs, or other dried breadcrumbs
Fresh thyme leaves
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or similarly-sized shallow casserole dish.
In a Dutch oven, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onions and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and sugar and stir to combine. Cover the pot and continue to cook, stirring about every 5 minutes, until the squash has given up much of its liquid, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, if needed, until the squash and onions are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Pour the squash mixture into a large strainer set over a sink and press gently to remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a food processor and process until the mixture forms a smooth puree, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cheese, milk and flour. Season to taste with onion powder, garlic powder and additional salt, if desired. Stir in the eggs.
Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake until souffle is only slightly jiggly in the center, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Pour it into a medium bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt.
After 45 minutes of baking, remove the souffle from the oven and top evenly with the breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and continue to bake until set, about 10 minutes. If the top is not yet browned, turn the oven to broil. Broil just until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with fresh thyme, and serve.
About the recipe
This recipe is a fancier version of squash casserole, with pureed vegetables and a crisp, buttered breadcrumb topping. There is, of course, plenty of cheese, but the texture of the casserole is smooth, and there are none of those pesky squash seeds that smush, mush and sog out many a crisp topping.