To get a head start, roast the garlic, caramelize the onions, and even assemble this robust casserole the day before you plan to serve it. Use leftover roasted garlic to flavor soups, or combine with olive oil as a spread for toasted baguette slices. Pancetta is Italian unsmoked bacon. You can substitute regular smoked bacon, but use less, as the smoky flavor is more assertive.
Cooking Light NOVEMBER 2006
Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap garlic head in foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Set half of garlic pulp aside; reserve remaining garlic pulp for another use. Discard skins.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Add onion and 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 25 minutes or until onion is very tender and browned, stirring frequently. Stir in vinegar.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Add garlic pulp, pancetta, squash, and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaf) to onion mixture, stirring well. Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil; sprinkle evenly over squash mixture. Cover and bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until squash is tender. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until topping is browned. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.
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