Butternut squash, spinach and goat’s cheese tarts

When I discovered this recipe I did not think it would stand the test, oh but it did! butternut squash roasted with chilli flakes and sumach packs a little punch, and spinach with ricotta is always nice, as are roasted onions. The cheesy pastry is delightfully different with the addition of polenta. The recipe looks a bit faffy but when you get down to it, it’s not and it is delicious.

All in all it is one that I will be making again…….and it got a lot of attention on social media which is unusual for veggie recipes. It has also been scoffed by a teenage boy which means a lot! I made mini pies but the recipe is for a large one that serves 8 – 10 people. You could always halve it.

Here it is:

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  • 2 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and sliced.
  • 4 tbs olive oile
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 2 tsp sumach
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 – 3 red onions
  • 4 whole garlic cloves with skins on
  • 1 kg baby spinach
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 50 g pine nuts, toasted
  • 200g goats cheese, sliced.

For the pastry:

350g plain flour

50g polenta

150 g cold butter, cubed

60g grated parmesan

1 medium egg, beaten.


  1. Mix your flour, polenta and salt together in a processor. Add the butter and mix till you have what looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add 50g of Parmesan and mix. measure out 4 tbs of cold water and add it bit by bit to the pastry until the dough just sticks together. Knead it gently and then wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250C/ Gas 6. Scatter the sliced Butternut squash over some roasting trays, drizzle with half the oil, the cumin seeds, sumach and chilli flakes, Season well with salt & black pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the sliced onions and whole garlic to another roasting tray with the rest of the olive oile. Halfway through cooking the squash, add the onions to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove everything from the oven, squeeze the garlic out from the skins and mash it together with the onions. Leave to cool a bit.
  4. Put the spinach in a colander over the sink and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Refresh it under cold water and squeeze it to dry to get rid of the excess liquid. then chop up the spinach and season it well – mix in the ricotta and set it aside.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out two thirds of the pastry and use it to line the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin. Add half the spinach mixture in a layer, then scatter half the butternut squash on top of that. Scatter half the toasted pine nuts and half the goats cheese. Repeat with the rest of the spinach mixture, followed by the quash, pine nuts and goat’s cheese. Finally add the garlicky onions in a layer on top.
  6. Roll out the rest of the pastry, lay it on top of the pie, pushing in the edges to seal well. Make a hole in the middle of the pie and decorate with leaves or starts from any leftover pastry. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg ad scatter on the rest of the grated parmesan cheese. chill the pie for 20 minutes.
  7. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown on top. Leave the pie to cool for 10 minutes before serving.




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