Winter Warmer Recipe: Butternut Squash, Spinach and Goats Cheese Pie

We all normally associate pies with meat, like those British classics of chicken and leek or steak and ale, yet making a vegetarian pie instead (like this one here) can open you up to flavour combinations you might never have thought of. Try making this easy yet impressive recipe which combines butternut squash, spinach, ricotta, goats cheese and roasted onions with garlic in a case of flaky and buttery pastry…

Ingredients:

For the filling…

  • 2 whole butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 500g baby leaf spinach
  • 250g ricotta
  • 200g goats cheese, rindless
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 whole garlic cloves

For the pastry…

  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g salted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • A few tbsp. cold water

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Firstly, prepare the shortcrust pastry.  (Note: if you don’t fancy making your own pastry, you can buy some ready made from the supermarket. For those up to the challenge, read on…) In a large mixing bowl add the butter (make sure it’s cold) with the flour and combine by rubbing your hands together until it reaches the consistency of breadcrumbs. Then add 1 egg yolk and mix together, adding enough water until it all comes together to form a smooth and roll-able consistency. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  • Next, prepare the butternut squash by slicing off the skin and cutting the flesh open, allowing you to take out all the seeds from inside. Then chop up the squash into small pieces and place into two baking trays with the olive oil, seasoning, and cumin seeds. Place in the oven to roast for around 40 minutes, until tender.
  • Once the squash is in the oven, take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out two thirds of it to cover the bottom and sides of a 22cm cake tin, greased with oil or butter. Make sure the pastry hangs over the top of the case so that it doesn’t sink down during baking. Also, you can cover the pastry with baking paper and place either baking beans or rice inside to prevent it from rising.
  • Then, prepare the onions and garlic. Slice the onions thinly and place in a roasting tray with the whole garlic cloves and drizzle with oil and season.
  • When the butternut squash has been roasting for around 20 minutes already, place both the onions and the pastry case into the oven for the remaining 20 minutes. At this point feel free to turn the oven up to 200 degrees C.
  • While these are all roasting and baking away, you can prepare the spinach. Place the leaves a handful at a time into a large saucepan with a knob of butter, and allow to cook until they have all wilted down. Move into a mixing bowl, season, and mix with the ricotta.
  • Once the remaining 20 minutes is up, take out the butternut squash, the onions and garlic, and the bottom of the pastry case from the oven. The onions should be soft enough for you to mash up slightly using a fork or a potato masher.
  • You can now get assembling!
  • Start by putting half of the butternut squash in a layer on the bottom, followed by a layer of the spinach and ricotta. Then place half of the goats cheese, chopped, in a layer on top of the spinach. Repeat the process again until you’ve used up everything apart from the mashed-up onions and garlic, which you can place in a layer on top.
  • Lastly, prepare the top of the pie. Using the remaining third of the pastry, roll it out into a circle wide enough to place on top. You might have to cut off any overhanging pastry that has already been baked, so that the edges match up nice and neatly. Use any leftover pastry to craft some decoration, and brush the whole top of the pie with the remaining egg.
  • Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for about an hour, until golden brown on top!

You can share this with friends, or divide it up into slices and save for either lunch or dinner.