I like cooking fancy recipes with all the whizbangs, bells and whistles. It's a challenge. Cooking challenges make you stretch those culinary muscles. I have found in my attempts to be a better,more flexible home cook that the recipes that challenge me the most are the simple ones.
Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I left that door wide open. Go on...ok.
The simple recipes are the ones that humble me and bring me back down to earth.Thomas Keller and his chicken recipe...fine roasted chicken recipe. It's simple,easy and so divine. Giada de Laurentiis's Parmesan Potato Pancake recipe...rich,savory and luscious potato pancake recipe. It's the little things really. The most recent recipe to knock my socks off and settle me down (through all of this summer's crazy canning adventures) was Helen Partlow's Squash Casserole. Helen Partlow made my night last week and I thank my lucky stars that I have a copy of her cookbook.
I have Helen's second cookbook. It's a collection of her recipes compiled by fans of her cooking . A copy of this simple,divine and very well organized cookbook made it's way into my hands a few years back,thank goodness. I am still learning about Helen Partlow and I will fill you in as I learn more about her,until then let me tell you about her Squash Casserole. It has less than 10 ingredients,easy to make and is a perfect solution for a bumper crop of yellow crookneck squash.
Slice up some yellow squash (zucchini would work just as well in this casserole) about 4 cups or so.Put in a large pot with a little water in the bottom so as not to scorch the bottom of the pan. I added a little butter,some salt and pepper.Put the lid on and cook down the squash still it's softened up a little. You want it a little soft,but not too soft or it won't hold up well when it's baked in the casserole.
While the squash cooks down,gather the rest of your ingredients together: a can of cream of mushroom soup ( I used cream of chicken in it last night for a family dinner. It did ok.), 1/4 cup diced onion,1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and one egg (beaten),salt and pepper.
Helen says use cracker crumbs. I would love to have used crushed up Ritz crackers,but I didn't have any in my house at all.If left alone,I could eat at least two sleeves of Ritz crackers all by myself...So it was sad moment...but nonetheless... moving right along. I had bread crumbs and they worked just fine. You want just enough to sprinkle over the top of the assembled casserole,this makes for a yummy,crusty topping.
SO...after the squash has cooked down,drain it really well. I just let it sit in the colander for a minute or two.Ta-da! drained,cooked squash. Casserole is half done!
Now in a large mixing bowl combine the squash,egg,cram of mushroom soup,onion and salt and pepper.Gently fold/mix all of those ingredients together. Next mix in your shredded cheese.Pour this mixture into a 1-qt casserole dish.(If you have a lot of squash obviously the size of the baking dish will be bigger. Last night I made this for family dinner night and I had a WHOLE LOT of squash. The 13 x 9 size baking dish did a fine job containing all that cheesy,breadcrumb covered squash goodness.Duh-vine.)
Yummy,crusty,cheesy squash casserole ( the dish to the left of the squash is some amazing beef brisket leftovers)...you know squash is in season for a little bit longer and yes you too can enjoy this delicious casserole with one quick trip to your grocer's produce section OR your local farmers market. Fresh squash is amazing.
Thank you Helen Partlow.
adapted from Helen Partlow's Recipes
2 cup well-drained cooked squash
1/4 cup onion,diced
1 large egg,beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a large mixing bowl combine the squash,onion,egg,salt,pepper,cream of mushroom soup. Gently toss to combine. Then add in the cheese,gently stir to mix in the cheese.
2.Pour the squash mixture into a greased 2-qt casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. ENJOY!