December 28, 2021 - Written by: Nancy Pollard
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Step Away From the Holiday Leftovers

Sale e Pepe squash bookBetween the Christmas cookies, the deluge of desserts,  and gifts of candies, fruitcake or panforte – my two favorites for JanFeb breakfasts — it is probably advisable to introduce a vegetable here and there. I must say the Italians introduce them in the nicest way possible, even though fields are frostbitten, and pale imitations of summer vegetables stare back at us in the grocery stores. This gratin of butternut, kabocha squash or pumpkin is mixed with radicchio to create an easy-to-achieve roasted dish that can be served with whatever protein odds and ends you have in your fridge. This recipe is from an Italian food magazine, Sale & Pepe, which unfortunately does not have an English translation online. It is the same source of this lush Italian answer to our tomato aspic

Advice And Tools

I have found that “Y” shaped peelers are the easiest  formessermeister peeler best for squash shaving the hard outer peel of winter squashes. Having disposed of four models from different sources, the one I liked best is no longer manufactured, so I have purchased this version from Microplane and will report back.   Other designs that have the similar “Y” configuration vary in durability and blade sharpness. Some have a uncomfortable handles or blades that pop out at inconvenient times. That said, there is usually a hard whiteish undercoat that I also get rid of via the same peeler. Once you have scraped out the seeds, then you can slice it into smaller pieces. Any type of Sale & Pepe gratin of pumpkin and radicchiogratin dish in metal, glass or ceramic will be good for this side dish. 

On the radicchio, simply remove the outer leaves, halve it and then quarter it without coring it. The core will become soft and as delicious as the leaves.  I used a light chicken stock, but a vegetable one based on carrots, celery, onions and bay leaf works well too and can be made in a bit more than 30 minutes. 



Radicchio And Winter Squash Gratin
Serves 4
  1. 350 grams 12oz peeled pumpkin, butternut or kabocha squash
  2. 2 heads of radicchio
  3. 1 red onion
  4. small handful fresh marjoram
  5. 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  6. 3 sprigs fresh savory
  7. enough light chicken broth or vegetable broth to simmer the squash and onions
  8. 50 gr (1 1/2oz wt) grated parmigiano
  1. Slice the squash of your choice into smaller pieces, but not fine dice.
  2. Peel the onion, cut in half lengthwise and slice into half moons, and finely chop the fresh herbs.
  3. In a saute or sauce pan, pour about 4 tablespoons olive oil and heat the onions along with herbs for 5 minutes over low heat.
  4. Add the squash pieces and a ladle full of your broth. You want the mixture to be barely covered with broth.
  5. Preheat oven to just under 400F or 200C
  6. Cook covered for about 15 minutes, adding more broth if necessary.
  7. In a gratin dish (metal glass or ceramic will all work) pour a light film of olive oil over the base and add the squash pieces evenly,
  8. Nestle in or alternate with the quartered slices of radicchio, and then add some of the remaining enriched stock from the cooking of the onions and squash.
  9. Top with the Parmigiano and bake for about 15 minutes.
Adapted from Sale & Pepe - Italian Cooking Magazine
Adapted from Sale & Pepe - Italian Cooking Magazine
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Janet Hirshberg
2 years ago

How on earth did you know this is precisely what I’m in the mood for? You’re a witch! Thanks, Nancy!

2 years ago

How long do you bake in the oven? Karen

Laurie Clark
2 years ago

Looking forward to trying this and hearing your review about the peeler!