Totally occupied with helping a client plan a surprise party for her husband, today called for a simple and filling dish that required very little effort to prepare. The butternut squash here is roast skin-on and simply scooped out, and besides the roasting, this is a one-pan dish that you can really just throw together any time after you roast your squash. Feel free to do the roasting of the squash one or two days before you make this and then finish the recipe any time you want. It’s so easy to make a batch of squash, stick it in the fridge, and then heat it up whenever works best for you! Any variety of squash would work well with these flavors, from acorn or kabocha to spaghetti. It’s all about the brown butter, spinach, and parmesan.
Today is just chilly enough that it’s nearly impossible to convince the finicky little dachshunds to brave the outdoors, which seems to be exactly the sort of day that calls for flavors like roast squash and brown butter. I often wonder what would happen to these funny little dudes if they had to deal with the temperatures in MN rather than here in Napa. I’m not sure they’d make it…
This dish might not be terribly complicated or particularly fancy, but the flavors here wound up being just killer! Nutty brown butter with parmesan, plus the creaminess of the roast squash and the spinach made this dish so much tastier than simply the sum of its parts. I did put a few of my toasted pumpkin seeds over the top (they are currently hiding in nearly every meal around here), but the dish remains awesome without them.
The next few pictures are ones I’ve used before, but it’s a good idea to make sure that the squash preparation makes sense, so I’m reusing them here. For this recipe, you won’t be sprinkling the squash with the chilies (though you can if you want!) so you won’t have all of those red sprinkles. If you don’t have butternut squash, this dish is great with whatever squash you have on hand. It’s the same technique, just make sure you roast it until it’s tender and lovely!
Brown Butter Roast Squash with Parmesan and Spinach
- 1 each butternut squash
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 small or 1/2 large shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- salt, pepper
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Rub the cut side with the oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Place cut-side-up on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or foil (only to help with clean-up).
- Roast until tender, approximately 45 min-1 hour.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle it.
- Scoop the flesh from the skin and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat the butter in a saute pan large enough to hold the squash and spinach.
- Allow the butter to start to turn brown, swirling the pan occasionally. You are looking for a lightly golden color and a nutty smell.
- Add the shallots and soften.
- Add the chili flakes.
- Add the squash and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the squash to get hot all the way through.
- Add the spinach with another pinch of salt and pepper and toss/stir until the spinach is wilted.
- Add 1/2 of the parmesan and mix well.
- Plate and top with the rest of the parmesan, a sprinkle of chili flakes, and the pumpkin seeds, if using. Enjoy!
Wrap up in a blanket, heat up a little cider or eggnog, turn on that holiday music and take a couple of minutes to throw together this squash! Warm, healthy, simple, and delicious, you’ll be glad you did!
I’m loving roast squash! If you’re in a squash frame of mind, you might like:
or you might be in the mood for cinnamon roast squash with spicy yogurt and toasted pumpkin seeds,
or maybe the chorizo and wild rice stuffed squash,
and, of course, if you’re feeling juuuuust a little nostalgic (but not quite enough to break away from healthier choices) there’s the gooey, creamy baked “mac & cheese” spaghetti squash!