Gratin is one of those fancy-knickers culinary terms meaning 'with a golden crust' (from the obsolete French word grater, meaning to scrape. hey, maybe that's where cheese graters come from?) , this scrumptious crustyness can come from breadcrumbs, cheese or a sauce rich in egg or cream. Gratins are usually made in shallow, ovenproof dishes, which provide maximum scrumptious toppings.
Here's a recipe for Pumpkin Gratin. You can make it pretty simple, just pumpkin, seasoned & mashed, topped with breadcrumbs & grated cheese & shoved under the grill until crisp & browned, but when have I ever made things easy for myself..?
500g (or thereabouts) Pumpkin or squash, peeled, deseeded & cut into chunks
2 courgettes, sliced
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped
1 400g pack of passata (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
50g sweetcorn (or more, or peas instead)
50g/1 cup breadcrumbs (pumpkinbread crumbs or cornbread crumbs would work well, or anything you have. Panko have a really nice, light texture)
25g hard cheese (I use vegetarian Parmesan, which I insist on calling Parmesain't)
1 tbs parsley
1 tbs basil
Add a little oil to a pan & fry the pumpkin for 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the courgette, onion, garlic & chilli & cook for a further 5 minutes or so. Add the passata & sweetcorn & cook until the pumpkin has softened (this can take only a couple of minutes, or as long as ten, depending on how big your pumpkin chunks are). Season & pour into a shallow ovenproof container. Preheat the grill & combine the breadcrumbs, cheese & herbs in a bowl. Scatter evenly over the pumpkin & slap under the grill. When it's toasty & golden brown (should only take 3 or 4 minutes), eat!
Plays well with salad, shredded carrot, salsa, Mexican bean salad, guacamole, chips & potato wedges.
Om nom nom!