Everyone’s had a bad squash casserole. Squash casseroles cooked by people who didn’t want anyone to know there was squash in there. Where they’d cooked the life out of the squash and mixed it with milk or eggs into a cardboard-flavored mush. Many a bumper crop of squash has been hidden this way, mixed with liberal amounts of sharp Cheddar under a canopy of Ritz crackers.
As Mommaw likes to say, “There’s nothing about squash that a little cheese can’t fix.”
But I like to see and taste the squash in my Squash Casserole. So, instead of cooking the squash until it falls apart, I slice it thin and sauté it in a big skillet with Vidalia onion slices until the onion is so soft you can see right through it. Those slices are combined with a punchy cheese sauce that bubbles up into a crunchy topping made out of crushed Ritz crackers, the panko of the South. Crisp, molten buttery perfection.
This is a casserole for people who want to taste the love that goes into a sack of homegrown squash. Preferably with two cups of cheese and a sleeve of Ritz crackers.
Rebecca Crump (EzraPoundCake.com)
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 medium yellow squash, sliced thin
- 1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
- 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the squash and onion, and cook until the squash is tender and the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Meanwhile, combine the cheese, sour cream, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the squash and onion mixture. Mix well, and pour into your casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs, and bake for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly.