There should be a photo after years of making this casserole, but there isn’t. I think that after baking, sautéing, roasting, and tossing together the enormity that is Thanksgiving dinner in my house, by the time this comes out of the oven, golden and bubbly, I am ready to sink into a chair and just eat. Just let countless years making this be a statement in itself. It was a new tradition and is now an old one.
If you don’t love zucchini, don’t worry. It cooks down and there’s enough butter, cheese, and sausage to overpower it. That said, if you do love zucchini like I do, then add a bit more. It will look like a lot, but it’s never enough. I usually put in just a bit less sausage than it calls for and milk instead of cream would be a good “healthier” choice. It is also a very good idea to absolutely drain/press as much of the liquid out of the zucchini as possible or the dish will get very watery. The nuts are a wonderful addition and to add a lot of texture – don’t leave them out unless you have to!
2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash, coarsely grated (I use both)
3/4 pound sage sausage (I just use sage sausage and use 1lb. total instead of 1.5)
3/4 pound hot sausage
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup heavy cream (milk is ok)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 to 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped pecans
Freshly ground pepper
Hot sauce (I always forget this)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a wide, 2-quart baking dish, or spray it with nonstick spray.
- Put the zucchini in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes or wrap it in a clean tea towel and gently squeeze it to remove the excess liquid. Put the zucchini in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat a large skillet and add the sage sausage and hot sausage. Cook until the sausage starts to brown, stirring to break it up. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons grease. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Combine the sausage and onions with the zucchini.
- Stir in the cream, the 1 cup bread crumbs, the eggs, the 2 to 3 cups cheese, and 2 cups pecans. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. The casserole may be refrigerated at this point for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- For the topping, combine the butter, the 3/4 cup bread crumbs, and the 3/4 cup pecans. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until hot through, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the 1/2 cup cheese and return to the oven just until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Makes 10 (side dish) or 6 (main dish) servings.
Inspired by: Nathalie Dupree’s Comfortable Entertaining