A few days ago, a family friend gave me a few issues of Woman’s Day that had been randomly mailed to her house. She thought I might like them because they featured lots of recipes. At first, I thought, “Woman’s Day?? What am I, a suburban housewife?” Well, yes, I guess I am. 😉 After a quick flip through the magazines, I was grateful to have them, because there were several things I’m eager to try. One of them was a butternut squash and kale torte — I figured I’d give it a whirl for my vegetarian readers. It’s layers of thinly sliced butternut squash, red onions, Yukon Gold potatoes, kale, provolone cheese and tomatoes, baked until crispy on top and tender inside.
Only two things went awry: One, apparently there was a kale shortage in the South Bay today (I’m sure Whole Foods or the farmers market would have carried it, but neither was convenient for me to get to today), so I used spinach, which was very tasty. Two, either my oven temperature is way off (must get a new oven thermometer), or there was a typo in the recipe, because I had to double the baking time to adequately cook the veggies. But, those small glitches didn’t prevent us from having a delicious, healthy meal. The torte has a great combination of sweet (butternut squash) and savory (cheese, onion, spinach) flavors. Served with some fresh mini heirloom tomatoes and a chunk of just-baked baguette, it made for a wonderful dinner.
Butternut Squash and Spinach Torte (adapted from Woman’s Day magazine; original recipe here)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 small butternut squash (about 1 lb), thinly sliced*
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 big handfuls of spinach leaves
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato (about 6 oz), thinly sliced
- 6 oz thinly sliced provolone cheese
- 1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Springform pan**
*I cut both ends off the squash, then cut it in half lengthwise and scooped out the seeds and stringy pulp. I then wrapped one of the halves in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Using a vegetable peeler, I removed the skin from the other half, then put it cut-side down and sliced it very thin.
**I happen to have a springform pan because, while we were living in NYC, I went through a cheesecake-making obsession. I realize it’s not something everyone has (my cheesecake craze has passed, and I’ve used the springform pan once in the last five or six years). I think this would work just as well in a round cake pan or deep pie plate. You’d lose the ability to easily remove the torte, but I don’t think that’s really necessary.
Heat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 9-in. springform pan (see ** above). Arrange half the butternut squash in the bottom of the pan, in concentric circles. Top with half the onion, separating the rings. Then, top with half the kale, drizzle with half the oil and season with 1/4 tsp salt. Top with the potatoes and half the provolone cheese.
Top with remaining kale, drizzle with the remaining oil and season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Top with the remaining onion, tomatoes and provolone. Arrange the remaining squash on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Cover with foil, place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes***. (If you use a springform pan, don’t skip the step of putting the pan on a baking sheet. Otherwise, the juices from the veggies will leak out of the pan and drip onto the bottom of your oven.) Remove foil and bake until the vegetables are tender and the top is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes more.
***I had to bake mine for 45 minutes before removing the foil! At 20 minutes, my fork wouldn’t even go through the squash and potatoes. Yikes! After 45 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes after the foil was removed, the torte was perfect.
Let the torte cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing the springform part (if you’re using a springform pan). Then, slice and serve immediately.