Virginia Willis New Cookbook Giveaway & Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin Recipe

I was fortunate to meet Virginia Wills several years ago, and I had the pleasure and honor to co-speak with her last year at Food Blog South. Last fall, I attended an event in Atlanta where she previewed some of her recipes for her new book, “From Basic to Brilliant”. I couldn’t wait for it to be released. Virginia is a graduate of  L’Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne and, previously, was the Kitchen Director for Martha Stewart Living. Virginia expands on her incredible style in this 150 recipe cookbook where she offers incredible preparation and presentation techniques (her writing is amazing too). This recipe for Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin is just one of the many stellar recipes in this book. I served it to company this weekend on a cold evening, and I received rave reviews. Her amazingly beautiful photos were taken by Helene Dujardin of Tartlette. “From Basic to Brilliant” can be found at Amazon or any of your favorite online stores as well as bookstores nationwide.

For a chance to win a copy, leave me a comment telling me why you want a copy of this book. Winner will be drawn on Thursday, November 10th and must be a U.S resident. For more chances, leave as many comments as you like telling me that you did the following:

1. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

2. Like Ingredients, Inc on Facebook

3. Follow Virginia Willis on Twitter

4. Like Virginia Willis on Facebook


“Reprinted with permission from Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company by Virginia Willis, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.”

Photo credit: Helene Dujardin © 2011

Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin

Cook Time:

1 hour

Prep Times:

30 minutes


8 to 10 servings


2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more for the gratin dish
2 butternut squashes, (about 3 pounds total), cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 (10-ounce) bag chopped kale
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme, chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons plain or whole-wheat fresh or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2½ ounces)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a large gratin dish.

2. Peel the squash, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices; set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the kale and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then squeeze out any excess water.

3. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the well-drained greens. Cook until the greens are slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, place half the sliced squash in the prepared dish and season with salt and pepper. Combine the nutmeg, allspice, and thyme in a small bowl.

5. Spoon the kale over the squash and sprinkle with half the seasoning mixture. Top with remaining squash and sprinkle with the remaining seasoning.

6. Pour the cream over the gratin and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and press down on the squash with a spatula to compress. Cover and continue baking until the squash is soft when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Decrease the oven temperature to 375°F. Remove the foil from the gratin dish and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the squash. Dot with the butter and continue baking, uncovered, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

55 thoughts on “Virginia Willis New Cookbook Giveaway & Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin Recipe”

  1. Great giveaway Alison!

    I would love to win the cookbook because Virgina Willis rocks my world and I somehow forgot to preorder my copy! So..winning it would of course be awesome! 😉

  2. I’m looking for more ways to use root vegetables and bitter greens in my diet. This cookbook sounds like it will help!

  3. The question should be, why would I not want to have this cookbook. 😉 The answer is, of course, that Virginia is awesome and I would love to add this book to my collection.

  4. One of my friends made the grits with sweet potato recipe (Basic) from Virginia’s book and it was amazing. She also made the grits souffle (Brilliant). I can only imagine how ‘brilliant’ all of the rest of the recipes are in this book! Plus, Helene doing the photography… I’m sold 🙂

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