CHEESY BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND RED PEPPER GRATIN

Ingredients

48 ounces butternut squash (about 12 cups), peeled and chopped into 1” chunks

1 large red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 ½-2 cups)

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 tablespoon flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups heavy cream

4-ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup Jarlsberg or gruyere cheese, shredded

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ pound bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread the butternut squash evenly in a buttered 9” x 13” baking dish and top with the red peppers.

2 tablespoons of the butter in large saucepan and add the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper to make a rue.  Cook for one minute, stirring constantly until bubbly.

Add cream and whisk until the sauce has thickened. Add the cream cheese, cheddar, Jarlsberg, and parmesan.  Stir until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the butternut and red peppers.  Sprinkle the bacon over the top.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan (I use the one that I made the cheese sauce in) and add the breadcrumbs.  Cook, stirring, over medium high heat, until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.  Spread them over the top of the casserole.

Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until the squash is very tender when pierced with a fork!

Optional – you can also add 1 ½ cups of cooked shredded chicken to this dish for a one pan meal!

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