Butternut Brown Butter Thanksgiving Stuffing

Gluten-Free Stuffing made with roasted butternut squash, pancetta and browned butter. Happy Thanksgiving! more »

Each new Thanksgiving can easily seem like having a new baby. Follow this through with me… You have 1 kid, you walk into a babystuff supply store and panic. What is all this stuff? Babywearing, babyproofing, babydressing, babymaking (that one goes first), babybabying, cosleeping. Crazymaking! Then you get your groove and realize, hey, I don’t need almost any of that stuff. Feed, rinse, repeat. THEN. Then you have another baby, and even if it’s only a year or two later, you go back to that same store and it’s filled with all new things. How did I get so out of touch? How did I get by without that babyfood maker that looks suspiciously like a … mini food processor?

Don’t believe the hype. It’s alllll under control. You got this. Thanksgiving is in the bag.

Today’s recipe is just another stuffing varietal, in case you’d like to try something else. Yesterday’s Classic gluten-free Thanksgiving Stuffing is, well, a classic. If you’re not into tinkering, then don’t tinker! But if you like the idea of vegetables cooked in rendered pancetta fat, nutty brown butter and warm roasted butternut squash puree, we should talk.

If you’ve never made brown butter, it might be because it’s everywhere these days and that can seem kind of annoying. Big whoop, right? You cooked some butter until the solids drop out and you lightly brown them. It’s super easy, and it is a big whoop. I’m not really one for overly self-conscious hipster foodie trends, but the light nutty flavor and aroma of brown butter really adds a special depth of flavor to this stuffing.

You don’t have to add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese if you just can’t abide cheese in (on) your stuffing. It is entirely optional. As is the whole affair. Baking stuffing is really more like cooking than it is like baking, since there’s much less science involved. As long as you have something to keep the bread from being dry (here: fat, stock, squash puree), some aromatics (here: onions, celery, pancetta) and something to help the stuffing hold together and set (here: eggs), you’re likely to have a happy Thanksgiving crowd. And don’t forget the best gluten-free bread you can manage!

Prep time: 30 minutes active time + 1 hour to roast squash       Cook time: 30 minutes       Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 large (2 1/2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, quartered and seeded

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

1 large loaf gluten-free bread (I suggest either the White Sandwich Bread from page 104 of My Cookbook or my gluten-free Japanese Milk Bread), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 ounces cubed pancetta

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced

5 stalks celery, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons herbs de Provence

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons (28 g) packed light brown sugar

4 extra-large eggs (240 g) at room temperature, beaten

2 to 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

  • Roast the Butternut Squash. I recommend roasting the squash ahead of time while you are busy doing something else at home. Then, allow it to cool, cover it and refrigerate until ready to use. To roast the squash, turn on your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and place the quartered butternut squash on the baking sheet, cut sides down. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the flesh is fork tender (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to sit at room temperature to cool. Grease two 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dishes and set them aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F.


  • Brown the butter. Place the diced butter in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Continue to cook the butter, stirring constantly, until an amber color develops just around the edges of the pan. First, the butter will bubble, then the bubbles will become larger and more clear, and finally the amber color will begin to appear. Remove from the heat immediately and continue to stir until the color deepens. If the color doesn’t deepen enough, return to the heat and cook a few moments longer. Set the butter aside to cool.

  • Dry the bread. Dry the bread. Scatter the cubes of bread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in the center of the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is dried and just beginning to crisp. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside for the bread to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F.

  • Cook the pancetta and vegetables. In a medium-sized skillet, cook the pancetta over medium-high heat until it is uniformly browned and the fat is rendered from it. Remove the cooked pancetta from the skillet and set aside. Add the onions and celery, and the salt, pepper and herbs, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and the celery has begun to soften (about 7 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and add back in the cooked pancetta.

  • Puree the squash. Once the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, peel away the skin (or scoop the flesh from the skin), and place the flesh in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the stock and the brown sugar, and pulse until smooth.

  • Assemble the stuffing. Place the eggs and the cooled brown butter in a large bowl, and beat to combine. Add the cubes of bread, then the onions, celery and pancetta, and toss to coat. Scrape in the butternut squash puree, and mix to combine. Divide the stuffing evenly between the prepared baking dishes, and spread into an even layer in each dish. If using, shave or crumble the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and divide among both dishes, scattering on top of the stuffing.

  • Bake the stuffing. Place the baking dishes side by side in the center of the preheated oven  and bake, swapping the places of each dish and rotating both dishes once during baking, until the stuffing is set (25-30 minutes). Serve warm.

Happy Thanksgiving, once more, my friends! Who loves you?



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

  • Carole

    That would sure be a different stuffing. Wonder if the Grandkids would go for it.
    Do you know where you can buy or have a recipe for egg noodles ?? Its sure getting to be soup making time.
    And turkey soup is probably on the agenda for the weekend.

    • gfshoestring

      HI, Carole,
      My kids loved this stuffing! It’s a touch sweet, because roasted butternut squash is the sweetest winter squash, which might have something to do with it. It’s really a meal in & of itself.
      I have a recipe for fresh pasta both in my first cookbook and on the blog (with step by step photos on the blog – it’s a fresh lasagna how-to). It’s a lot of work, though. It’s not something I do very often at all, I’m afraid. It’s just a time-consuming endeavor, gluten-free or not.
      xoxo Nicole

  • sally only gluten free baking

    This looks amazing, I wish we had thanksgiving in Australia. 

    • gfshoestring

      Honestly, Sally, most years by this time I wish we didn’t have Thanksgiving and we could just declare Fall the time to eat all comfort foods, just because they’re fabulous. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lewallace

    Can I use the Boule Bread with Yeasted Refrigerator Bread Dough from page 72 of the new cookbook?

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/butternut-brown-butter-thanksgiving-stuffing/
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