Alicia Ross
Universal Uclick

Are you a marshmallow topping person or a crunchy, nutty topping person? It seems like there are two intensely loyal groups, and you fall into one or the other.

I recently needed to prepare a butternut squash casserole for a potluck dinner and couldn’t decide if I’d go with crunchy (my favorite) or marshmallow topping. A shortage of cereal decided it for me. But instead of despairing — or running to the store for more cornflakes — I decided to get creative. So stripes it was!

There’s something for everyone with this simple dish — a buttery-sweet squash filling topped with crunchy-nutty and sweet-sticky toppings. Kids will dig in with gusto, and the child in all of us seems to celebrate with the first bite.

Best of all, you please both worlds of sweet vegetable casserole lovers.

Butternut Squash

Striped Casserole

Filling:

1 (15-oz.) can pure butternut squash puree (1¾ cups)

4 tbsp. butter, softened

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp. whole milk

1 large egg

Crunchy topping:

1 cup cornflakes, crushed (for ½ cup crumbs)

¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

4 tbsp. butter, melted

2 tbsp. finely chopped pecans

Marshmallow topping:

1 cup mini marshmallows, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, combine all the filling ingredients until smooth. Pour into a small, shallow casserole dish (at least 1½ quarts). Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine ingredients for the crunchy topping.

Top the squash filling with alternating stripes of crunchy topping and marshmallows, until all the crunchy topping is used.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until filling is bubbly along the edges and toppings are golden.

Makes eight servings.

Each serving has about 225 calories, 14 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 54 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 126 milligrams sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email tellus@kitchenscoop.com, or visit http://kitchenscoop.com.