Butternut Squash and Potato Pie with Tomato, Mint, and Sheep's Milk Cheese

This very rustic “pie” from the Island of Crete is a cinch to prepare and will fill your house with a wonderful aroma.

The word pie implies some sort of pastry. This one will be the easiest you'll ever make! Simply sprinkle a handful of flour over the contents of the baking dish. The juices will mingle with the flour during the baking period, forming a thin “pastry” crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping tablespoons shredded fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pounds butternut squash, quartered, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large red ripe tomato, halved, seeded, and grated
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) grated hard sheep's milk cheese, such as Spanish manchego, Italian fiore sardo, or Greek dried mizithra
  • ¼ cup fresh white cheese, such as ricotta or small-curd cottage cheese
  • pounds red or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the mint, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper. Remove and reserve half the mixture. Add the squash to the bowl and mix well. Add the grated tomato and the hard and fresh cheeses and toss to combine.
  2. Toss the potatoes with the reserved garlic-herb mixture. Place half the sliced potatoes on the bottom of a generously oiled -quart earthenware baking dish. Spread the squash-tomato-cheese mixture on top and cover with the remaining potatoes. Pour the milk over all, dust with the flour, and drizzle the olive oil on top.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400°F and continue to bake for 30 minutes, or until the gratin is brown and the liquid is nearly absorbed. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.