You’ve planned a dinner at home for a new love interest. The date is set, you’re already relishing the menu you’ve devised, and you give a call just to check whether the candidate is violently allergic to anything you’re planning to cook. And then you find out that not only do you have a vegetarian on your hands but a vegan — someone who not only doesn’t eat meat but also eats no dairy, eggs, or fish. What do you do? Cook this! The crazy thing is, it’s really, really delicious. I make it all the time, even when no vegans are coming over. Serve it with a salad, and it’s dinner. You can assemble it ahead and refrigerate, then bake.–Ted Allen
Roasted Butternut Squash Pie Recipe
Hands-On Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes | Serves 6 to 8
- 1/2 package (1 pound) frozen filo dough
- One 2 1/2-pound butternut squash
- 2 medium red onions, sliced through the equator, 1/2 inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper, halved, stemmed, and seeded
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/3 cup for brushing the filo, or as needed
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger (about 1 inch, peeled)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
- One 16-ounce bag spinach, large stems removed
- 1 1/2 cups store-bought tomato sauce
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Remove the filo from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for 1 hour.
- 2. Trim off both ends of the squash. Cut it in half crosswise, where the neck joins the rounded body. Working with the neck end, peel off the tough skin with a vegetable peeler (or stand it on end and cut off the skin with a large knife). Cut into 3-inch chunks. Cut the rounded end in half, scoop out and discard the seeds. Peel with a vegetable peeler or a knife and cut into 3-inch chunks.
- 3. Put the squash chunks, onions slices, and red pepper halves on a baking sheet so that the vegetables are in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil. Roast for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables once with a spatula. Remove the pepper halves and turn everything again. Roast for 10 more minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Dump the squash into a large bowl. Quarter the onion slices and cut the pepper into 1-inch cubes; dump them both into the bowl. Sprinkle the vegetables with the ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Add the raisins and toss gently; set aside.
- 4. Turn the oven temperature down to 375°F (190°C). Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, shaking the pan twice for even cooking, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop; dump them into the bowl with the vegetables and stir gently.
- 5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic in a large frying pan over a medium flame. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes to flavor the oil. Add about one third of the spinach and cook, turning it in the oil with tongs until wilted, about 1 minute. Add more spinach and cook, turning as before, and then add the remaining spinach. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until all the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes total.
- 6. To assemble the pie, have ready a 9-X-13-inch baking dish and a pastry brush. Pour 1/3 cup olive oil into a small bowl. Set that on a work area with the filo and the vegetables. Open the package of thawed filo and unroll the pastry sheets so that they lie flat. Brush the baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the dish so that one long side faces you. Starting at the left edge of the dish, lay one sheet of filo in the dish crosswise so that it covers about half of the bottom, and half of the sheet hangs over the side facing you. Brush the part that covers the bottom with olive oil. Now lay a second sheet along the right-hand side of the dish, overlapping the first sheet in the middle of the dish and overhanging the side facing you. Brush with olive oil. Repeat with two more sheets, but this time, arrange them in the dish so that they overhang the other long side of the dish (at the top). Continue in the same way until you’ve used fourteen sheets of filo. As you’re working, you’ll come across some sheets of pastry that stick together and rip. Discard them if you need to — you have more sheets than you need.
- 7. Line the bottom of the dish with about half of the spinach, using your hands to open up the leaves and spread them out. Spoon the squash mixture on top and gently flatten with the spoon. Cover with the rest of the spinach. Still working with one long side of the dish facing you, fold one of the filo sheets over the filling and brush with oil. Fold the sheet next to it over and brush with oil. Do the same for the two sheets on the opposing side of the dish. Continue in this way until all of the filo is folded over the filling.
- 8. Then cover with two more sheets of filo, brushing each with more oil. (You may run out of oil. That’s fine, just pour more into the dish.)
- 9. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake until the pastry is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving, or let cool to room temperature. Warm the tomato sauce over medium heat. Cut the pie into squares and serve with the tomato sauce.
Roasted Butternut Squash Pie Recipe © 2005 Ted Allen. Photo © 2005 Bill Bettencourt. All rights reserved.