Butternut Squash and Polenta Gratin

In addition to producing world-class wines, we lovingly tend three acres of organic gardens which produce a variety of vegetables year round that we share with family and friends. We would like to recommend a seasonal recipe from our winter garden and invite you to enjoy this dish during the holidays!


  • One 1 1/2 pound butternut squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 cups dry instant polenta*
  • 8 Tbsp. (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 4–5 oz. Teleme Cheese* (or you can substitute with 1 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan)
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. of fresh thyme

* Follow the directions on the instant polenta package for water to polenta ratios as it may vary from our recipe.

* We love the tang and creamy richness of Teleme, a cheese whose roots are in our own backyard of Northern California. If this cheese is hard to find at your local market, please substitute.


Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a large ceramic baking dish. Cut the neck of the squash off the bulb end and halve it lengthwise. Reserve squash neck. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Drizzle the halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the squash halves on a small baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender. Scrape the flesh of the squash into a mixing bowl and smash with a fork or wooden spoon.

Peel the squash neck and halve it lengthwise. Using a mandolin or sharp knife thinly slice the squash cross-way (about 1/8 inch thick). Lightly oil or spray a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange the squash slices. Cover with tin foil and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until tender.

Remove the soft rind and cube Teleme cheese. Reserve.

Remove the sliced squash neck from the oven when done and reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and slowly add the dry polenta, whisk constantly until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and whisk until thickened, 3–5 minutes. If the polenta seems too stiff, simply add more water until you reach the desired consistency. Fold in the smashed squash, 6 tablespoons of butter and the Teleme cheese. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread the squash and polenta mixture in the prepared baking dish and overlap the squash slices on top. Sprinkle with fresh thyme. Dot the top with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of Asiago cheese over the top and bake until golden brown and bubbling, approximately 1 hour. Let stand before serving.