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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Butternut Squash Kale-o-Kopita....Sorta

Even though the temps around here have been very warm and muggy lately, it is really starting to look like fall around here.   It has been fun watching the trees in my backyard slowly start to show out.  This is our first year here in our new home and I suspected that this little stand of trees were going to provide some beautiful colors in the fall.  I think i was right.  I don't know if this is the most beautiful fall that I've seen in New Hampshire; but it's like bad pizza, ya know?  It's all good.  We are expecting cooler temps over the weekend and some cloudy days so I'm hoping that the colors will really start to show out going forward.

I am a huge spanokopita fan.   The phyllo dough...the spinach....the cheese.  I love it.   My sweet husband made a wonderful version of it for my birthday this year.  Spanokopita, Sorta.  Seriously.  That was the name of it.  It was a recipe that we found in Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals 2 cookbook.  The spanokopitas were rolled like a burrito instead of triangles.  They were so good.

When I saw a Kale and Butternut Squash Pie featured here on Proud Italian Cook,  I thought why not roll the ingredients up in the phyllo dough and get all of the crispy flavor of the phyllo dough in each bite.

So I cut the squash up into small pieces, tossed them with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked black pepper and roasted them on a cookie sheet at 400° for about an hour until they were tender and caramelized.  The time is not exact so watch them carefully to make sure they get caramelized to your liking.  We like our roasted veggies to have a nice, crispy caramelization around here.  You may have different tastes.  I could just seriously eat the whole pan just like this.  No other ingredients would be required for me to enjoy this as a meal.  Thankfully, I exercised restraint.

Once the squash was all nice and roasted, I placed the pieces in a large bowl to cool.  After they had cooled for a few minutes, I tossed in parmigiano-regiano cheese and crumbled feta cheese and gently stirred to combine. 

While the squash was roasting, I sautéed diced pancetta, onion, minced garlic, chopped sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper,  stirring frequently, until onion was softened, about 7 minutes.  I added some chopped kale and water and cooked, covered, stirring occasionally, until the kale was tender, about 6 minutes.   When the mixture was done, I set it aside until cool.   Once the mixture was cool, I mixed it into the bowl of squash and cheese, being careful to drain the kale of as much juice as possible as I was spooning it out.

It's kind of irritating when you have a brand new box of phyllo dough and you pull it out to use it and find that it's too dry.  It's so dry that it cracks and splits.  That kind of makes something that is not easy to work with under the best circumstances even harder.   I perservered though and used it anyway.  I took a sheet or sometimes two (just go with it and don't be intimidated!), brushed melted butter on half of it or tried to, at least and folded the sheet in half.  Did I mention that this particular box of dough was really hard to work with? They are not all like that if you remember to keep the dough covered when you aren't working with it.  In any case, don't let phyllo dough intimidate you.  When it was being particularly troublesome, I overlapped them and just extended the length and width.  Really, it's not that big of a deal so just do what feels right when you are working with it.  It will be fine.

I scooped some of the mixture down the center of the dough in the shape of a log, folded in each of the short sides, and rolled and wrapped the long sides upwards until I reached the edge of the dough.  I brushed the end with butter and rolled it completely up...like a Mediterranean burrito....and placed seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.   I'm sorry that I didn't get photos of this whole process; but, it was hard enough rolling them.  Photos were out of the question.  If I have totally confused you (sorry about that!!) and would like a little more instruction, I rolled these kind of like I rolled the baked eggrolls that I blogged about here.  The only difference is that the eggrolls were rolled on the diagonal.  However, you can get them rolled up will be fine.  Some of mine split as I was rolling them and the stuffing started coming out of them.  They were a mess.   No fear though.  I just grabbed another phyllo sheet and wrapped it around the whole roll however I could to contain the goodness.  That will just give you another layer of crispy to go with the yummy inside filling.

They look kind of pitiful on the baking sheet. You can see some of the splits in the top of the rolls.  No worries.  I baked them in a 400° oven for 15 minutes until they were lightly golden.

The uncooperative phyllo dough did not harm the taste of these babies at all. The pancetta, the kale, the sweet butternut squash combined with the parmesan and tangy feta....all wrapped in the crispy phyllo dough was absolutely amazing.

Butternut Squash Kale-o-kopita...Sorta
Adapted from Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2  and from Proud Italian Cook  and a recipe found here at Epicurious

Olive Oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into small pieces (about 3 ½  cups)
¾  teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 oz. finely chopped pancetta
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ½  teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 ½ lbs. kale, stems and center ribs discarded & leaves coarsely chopped (16 cups)
¼  cup water
Phyllo sheets, thawed, if frozen
½ cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp. butter, melted (it may take a little more depending on how thickly you paint it on the phyllo dough.)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Peel, seed and cut the squash up into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Drizzle the pieces with olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper and toss to coat.  Spread the pieces out in a single layer on a cookie sheet  and bake in the oven for about an hour until they were tender and caramelized to your liking.   Once the butternut squash is done, place in a large bowl to cool and set aside.   When cool, add the shredded parmigiano-reggiano and feta cheese and gently toss to combine.

While the squash was roasting, dice pancetta and onion.  Mince garlic.  Chop the sage.  Place all of those ingredients in a pan with olive oil,  1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper,  Cook over medium heat,  stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the chopped kale and water and gently toss to mix.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 6 minutes.   When done, remove from heat and allow to cool.    Once this has cooled down for a few minutes, spoon the mixture into bowl with the butternut squash and cheese, being careful to drain any water as you spoon it out and mix gently but thoroughly with the squash and cheese.

On a large work surface, lay out one sheet of phyllo.  Paint half of the sheet with a little melted butter.  Fold sheet in half to make almost a square.  Spoon the filling into a log shape in the center of the dough.  Fold the short sides of the dough up and in to touch the filling.  Start with one long side and bring up and over to the filling, rolling and wrapping the mixture inside until you get almost to the end.  Paint the final edge with a little melted butter and continue rolling up.  Place seam side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Repeat until all filling has been used.

Once rolled, bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven until lightly golden.

This was a fun adventure with phyllo dough.  Next up, I think I'm going to experiment with chipotle roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, onions and goat cheese and I may even do that today. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a beautiful day!

This recipe is being shared here for
Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday here for Friday Potluck
 and here for Stir, Stitch and Straighten Sunday.
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage




  1. It looks so good! Those fall colors are amazing! Our colors just started to turn the other day. It's my favorite season

  2. This looks so yummy. I love feta and spinach!

  3. Yes please...could you send some of that my way? It will ship won't it? Love the changing seasons colors...you are fortunate. ~Hugs, M

  4. I"ve never seen anything like that before. I would definitely give it a try but not sure if I'd really like it. :O)

  5. ALL of the pictures are beautiful! This recipe sounds like a good one for cool fall evenings!

  6. In my opinion, butternut squash only serves to make everything better. So...since spanakopita is amazing, this must be amazing squared!

  7. You know, as much as I love spinach I always thought spanokopita was lacking in something, but not sure what. I think the squash sounds really good. I bet pumpkin would be good too!

  8. Candace, this recipe is GOLD! I absolutely adore all the flavors. And yes, phyllo dough can be a pain, but more often than not it just looks funny but tastes amazing.

  9. Look at that amazing dish of squash goodness! The crispy texture on the outside and the sweet pancetta cheesy addiction on the inside. What a fabulous meal- hands down the most beautiful. You did such a great job combining both recipes. It looks like the perfect meal to me!

  10. Love how you melded the two ideas together.. And that you didn't let a little thing like ripped phyllo dough stop you :) Sounds delicious!!!

  11. Looks delicious, different but delicious. I've been seeing recipe for kale a lot lately. Really healthy, I need to give it a try! Your fall foliage is stunning.

  12. I need to make this immediately!!

  13. uuuu love that. Squash is my fav but to use it as a filling that way .. looks delicious.

  14. Hi Candace,
    I got your comment and thank you so much! The fall colors are just beautiful there in your part of the country. I would love to come for the fall tour again someday. Your Butternut Squash Kale-O-Kopita looks delicious. This is a great recipe to welcome fall. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week end!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  15. Ooh la la!!! Must try these! And your next one up sounds wonderful too - can't wait to hear how that turns out...my mouth is watering!

  16. YUM! This is brilliant! I know I should like spinach, but I really don't--I force myself to eat it simply because I know I should. So I've never really been a fan of spanokopita, but this I would eat 7 days a week (minus the pancetta, of course!). :D

  17. Oh, my word! These are GORGEOUS!!! Perfectly caramelized vegetables, cheeses, phyllo, all rolled together with love ... sigh ... :)

  18. I so want to eat those...right...this...second!!!! Yum!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

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