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Butternut Squash with Spinach, Raisins, and Pine Nuts


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 126

Elegant yet comforting, this side dish has layers of flavor thanks to the earthy-sweet squash and raisins, the fresh spinach, and the rich salty toasty top notes from the cheese and nuts.

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small lemon, finely grated to yield 1/2 tsp. zest and squeezed to yield 2 tsp. juice
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-3/4 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 4 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 5 oz. mature spinach leaves, thick stems removed (about 5 packed cups)
  • 1 oz. coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Melt the butter in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the milk solids turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest and juice, and swirl to combine.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and 1/2 tsp. salt; toss well to coat.

Cover the pan with the lid ajar by about 1 inch. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, gently stirring occasionally, until the squash begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. As the mixture cooks, you should hear a gentle sizzle.

Turn the heat down to low, add the onions and raisins and cook, stirring occasionally and then gently pushing the vegetables back into a single layer so that most have direct contact with the pan, until the vegetables are tender and browned, 12 to 15 minutes more.

Add the spinach and lemon butter and toss gently until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and pine nuts. Season to taste with salt. Serve right away or let sit off the heat, partially covered, until ready to serve, and then reheat gently over medium-low heat.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 290, Fat (kcal): 18, Fat Calories (g): 160, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 6, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 32, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2.5, Sodium (g): 280, Cholesterol (g): 20, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Love this recipe. It's so much more than you'd imagine from looking at the recipe. The lemon, the pine nuts... oh yum. After the first time I made it, I roasted the squash in the oven on parchment instead of sauteing it because it was messy and a bit of a nuisance. Do the squash ahead of time if you like. (I use romano in place of parmesan.)

Just made this tonight, it was interesting. Would definitely make again. I used craisins instead of regular raisins, (Personal preference.) I think that next time I will make the butter a while before hand and just heat up when I need it. I think that orange or lime zest would do just as well with this recipe. Since I only had raw pine nuts, I toasted them quickly before I started, so I think also next time I will do that sometime before I actually start cooking. (In a pan without anything but the only takes a few minutes.)

My teenage daughter is a fairly adventurous eater, but dislikes spinach. When I made this dish, she commented that she didn't mind the spinach in this recipe, stating that it "didn't have that gross spinach taste". In fact, she ate every bite, and I noticed that she heated up leftovers after school on subsequent days. This recipe is a keeper!

This was outrageously good. I roasted the butternut squash instead of pan frying it. All the different flavors and textures were delicious. Everyone asked for the recipe.

My husband enjoyed this so much, he asked for it twice in the same week!

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