In other words, I think this casserole is it, the end of wanting to create a better squash dish.
Yes, my quest is over. This casserole has all the tastes I desire and the texture is perfect; the medley of summer yellow squash with zucchini melding into a cheese sauce is the best ever, with hints of celery, onion and garden herbs and topped with crunchy homey goodness, how could it not be?
I have made many squash casseroles, many vary similar to this one, but somehow, this combination of many recipes is truly fine, one I served recently where friends not only agreed how wonderful it really was but asked for the recipe. Now, I know you will love this casserole too with the gardens full of squash this time of year. I also know I cannot wait to make this in the fall and during the holidays. It is that good. Give it a try, if you like squash, you'll love it too. Enjoy!
Squash Medley Casserole
1 pound zucchini squash, washed, ends removed and sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic toes, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 -10.75 oz condensed cream of celery soup
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups crushed butter crackers, divided (corn flakes or saltines are good too)
1 cup French fried onion rings
2 tablespoons melted butter
a couple twists black peppercorns
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray with cooking oil an 9x13 or 3-quart casserole.
Place squash in a small stockpot or large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add lid and cook on medium low until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well in a colander. Mash slightly in the colander pressing to remove as much liquid as possible or spread on paper towels; set aside.
In the stockpot, melt butter over medium heat and add onion. Stir to coat in the butter and sauté until translucent. Add garlic stirring in until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in the oregano and basil. Add the squash to the stockpot and season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the celery soup. Mix in 1 1/2 cups cheese along with 1/2 cup of crushed crackers. Fold this mixture into the squash.
Spoon squash mixture into the casserole and scrape pot with rubber spatula making sure to get all soup mixture. Spread out the top and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top of casserole.
Combine the remaining cup of crushed crackers with the onion rings and toss with the melted butter. Scatter this mix on top and give the topping a few twists from the pepper mill.
Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until casserole is bubbly and topping is a nice golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Note: I often cover with foil the latter 20 minutes of cooking to prevent topping from over browning.