Butternut squash is hands down my favorite veggie to use during the fall and winter months. Slightly sweet but still savory, I’m always looking for fun new ways to put it to use. Combine that with my love of polenta and you are looking at my idea of perfect comfort food.
Cubes of butternut squash are roasted in the oven with some red onion, garlic and just a touch of cinnamon, which gives the veggies a bit of warmth. As soon as they are done baking, chopped baby spinach is added to the tray, so that the heat from the veggies help wilt it down slightly.
While the squash is roasting in the oven, the polenta is pulled together on the stove-top. Polenta on its own can be a bit plain, so we’ve jazzed it up with fresh minced rosemary and some cheese, to give it a boost of flavor. The whole dish is finished off with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds for some crunch (you could also use another nut or seed of choice here).
Now, a few notes on the polenta. When the polenta is finished cooking, you can add in some extra milk or water to thin it out to your desired consistency. I personally like to add in a splash or so of extra milk, but it just depends on your own preferences.
Also, keep in mind that leftover polenta will firm up and will hold the shape of whatever container you choose to store it in. If desired, you can warm it back up with a little more milk or water. While it won’t be quite as smooth and creamy as when freshly made, this will help loosen it back up a bit.
Roasted butternut squash served over a bed of creamy polenta spiced with fresh rosemary. A comforting and simple fall inspired meal!
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 4 cups cubed (3/4-inch) butternut squash (from a 2-pound butternut squash)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups roughly chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup coarse polenta
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Add the red onion and butternut squash to a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender and starting to brown.
- As soon as the squash comes out of the oven, add the spinach to the baking sheet and stir to combine. The heat from the baking sheet and vegetables will wilt down the spinach slightly.
- Meanwhile, bring the water, milk and salt to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly pour in the polenta in an even stream, whisking constantly the entire time. Turn the heat down to low and partially cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, whisking often, until the polenta is thick and creamy. Remove from the heat and whisk in the rosemary and parmesan until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Divide the polenta into 4 bowls. Top each with the squash mixture and a sprinkle of the pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.