At the moment I have an abundance of spinach in my refrigerator and I was looking for different ways to use it for dinner. I came across this side dish while googling recipes for butternut squash and spinach. This recipe looked like it had all the components of a delicious dish, so I gave it a try. It came out really great and this is a recipe worth holding onto. One reason I love this dish is because you can prepare it anytime throughout the day (even the day before) and bake it right before dinner.
It was only the three of us eating dinner that night, so I decided to half the recipe. Half of this recipe is a perfect serving for 4 people. As I write this I am eating some of the leftovers, still delicious!
Butternut Squash and Spinach Casserole (adapted from recipe on http://www.beantownbaker.com)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices
8 oz fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp fresh thyme,minced
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted (I used GF bread)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup pecans, toasted (optional)
1 1/4 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 8 x8 inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole.
2. Place water in a large stockpot (about 2/3 full ) and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the squash to the water, return to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach to squash and boil one more minute. Drain squash and spinach and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in the stockpot and add the oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent and soft, about 8 minutes, stirring to prevent browning. Add the warm squash/spinach and the milk, egg, thyme, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp coarsely chopped pecans and 1 cup cheese. Blend with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients are well combined.
4. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp pecans and 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.