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Spoonbread with Butternut Squash and Feta MARIO BATALI

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A perfect side dish for any meal!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 cup white cornmeal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into pieces, softened)
3 large eggs (separated)
1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled)

For the Butternut Squash: In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the butternut squash and thyme and cook until slightly tender, about 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the Spoonbread: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray a 9-by-9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a large pot, heat the milk and salt until the milk nearly boils. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Continue to stir until smooth, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered and stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is quite thick.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter to incorporate. Remove the grits to a large bowl. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the butternut squash and the feta.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold into the butternut squash mixture and pour into the prepared casserole. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is almost set.
Tip: Add your favorite vegetables and cheeses to the spoonbread to make the perfect side dish for any meal!

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