Ahh, ze mighty Butternut. So easy to grow, and so much fun to grow as well. The chaotic, anarchic plants, one of the truly unruly ones, will be taking over the garden more and more as the season grows longer.
But then, winter is made so much more pleasant when there is butternut squash.
My total favorite. En absoluto. Ultimativ. Mega.
What else? Eat it!
Butternut Tahini Spread
This stuff kills it on any mezze plate.
500 g butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (net weight 970g)
1 ground cinnamon
70g tahini paste
120g Greek yogurt
black and white sesame seeds
1½ tsp date syrup (or maple syrup)
Coat the butternut squash in oil, salt, pepper, sprinkle with cinnamon, add some garlic cloves, caramelize in the oven.
( I usually steam the squash for just a few minutes, then place it in the oven, takes less time)
Allow the squash to cool.
In a blender combine the squash, tahini, yogurt, and garlic, if you can handle it raw.
Roughly spread this on a beautiful plate, sprinkle with syrup, seasme seeds, olive oil and coriander.
Serve with turkish bread.
We combine this with harissa-jogurt sauce and fried halloumi or falafel to make a killer sandwich.
(recipe from guardian/ottolenghi)
Yes, mole is not only for the meat-eaters, it also works in this amazing veggie version. Every time I cook it, it reminds of the way we used to cook when we were stoned teenagers. “Oh, yassssss, let’s add some chocolate to that”.
200 g (fresh) borlotti beans
200 g butternut squash
100 g kale
50 g butter
25 g ground almonds
cumin, oregano, cinnamon (Cotter uses paprika, I prefer this classic Mexican spice mixture)
50 g dark chocolate
Cook the beans in salted water (fresh are best but a can might work in a pinch).
Coat the squash with oil, salt, pepper, caramelize in the oven 20 min.
Melt the butter, fry onions, chilies, garlic, add the spices, then the tomatoes (skinned, or a can works in a pinch).
Simmer, then add almonds, chocolate, borlotti beans, kale, squash, and stir until the chocolate has melted.
Place everything in a casserole and gently cook it in an oven as long as you see fit.
Serve with corn chips, or tortilla. Some salsa wouldn’t hurt.
(recipe from Denis Cotter: wild garlic, gooseberries …and me)
Butternut squash risotto with gorgonzola and chestnuts recipe
This is total winter comfort food.
Fry the onions until caramelized, add the rice, coat.
Add the wine and stir to evaporate.
Add a ladle of stock.
Stir to evaporate.
Add the butternut squash with the second laddle.
Keep stiring and adding stock until the risotto is al dente.
Add the butter, stir, then the gorgonzola and sage.
Serve with the chestnuts and the parmesan, and lots of pepper.
(recipe from guardian/hartnett)
Butternut, mascarpone soup
Any soup made from butternut squash is great, but the added Italian touch in this recipe takes it over the edge.
800 g butternut squash
3 garlic cloves
Gently fry the garlic, add the fennel seeds, then the chopped squash and potatoes, and finally the tomatoes.
Just over with stock and boil for 15-20 minutes.
Mash the soup roughly to a creamy-thick texture.
Serve with some mascarpone, parmesan, sprinkle with olive oil.
Variation: add some fennel, then serve over toasted bread, rubbed with garlic.
We usually combine the two recipes.
(recipe from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers: River Cafe Two Easy)
Membrillo, butternut and stilton quiche
A very surprising combination of flavors.
1½ tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
stilton, crumbled (gorgonzola or any blue cheese works too)
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Combine the 1×1 cm diced butternut squash with the oil, salt and pepper, roast in the oven until tender.
(Steaming it works too)
In a bowl comine the egg, cream and creme fraiche, salt, pepper.
Pre-bake the cooled crust for 20 minutes.
Spread out the squash, membrillo, blue cheese in a pattern.
Pour over the egg/cream mix.
Bake for 40 min. (which seems long) or until the batter has set.
(recipe from guardian/ottolenghi)
This can be cooked in a tajine, if you have one.
300 g butternut squash
ginger, turmeric, paprika, chili flakes
75 g dried apricots
200 g cooked chickpeas
harissa, preserved lemons
Steam the carrots for a few minutes.
Gently fry onions, then garlic, in olive oil, add the cinnamon, bay leaves.
Add carrots, potatoes and butternut squash plus the spices, coat everything in oil.
Stir in the water, cook until the vegetables are almost tender.
Add the dried apricots and chickpeas, cook 5 more minutes.
Just before serving stir in the harissa and preserved lemons.
Serve over couscous, sprinkled with coriander leaves, optionally with some yogurt.
(recipe from Ottolenghi: Plenty)
Bruleed Pumpkin Pie
It’s really just the brulée part that makes this so much better.
3 cups whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean
10 whole black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 large eggs
1 oz or 425 g butternut squash, cooked and pureed
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
Gently boil milk with all the spices, until reduced to half (15 min.) and let cool.
Sieve the milk.
Beat eggs in a bowl, add squash puree, sugar, salt, then the milk.
Pour the mixture onto the pre-baked crust.
(we did try the pumpkin-seed crust, but where not totally convinced, a normals pie crust will do)
Bake 15 min. at 200ºC, then reduce to 180º bake 25 min. more.
With a bunsen burner caramelize the extra sugar on the surface, as you would for creme brulée
(recipe from Martha Stewart)
Again, major comfort food zone. I had this in Milano many many years ago and have been eating it ever since.
Fairly basic stuff, just cook the squash as you would a soup, onions, garlic, maybe some oregano, chilies.
Make it thicker than a soup.
Serve over gnocchi (or any pasta really works as well) with parmesan.
And then some
And of course there is much more that can be done with the mighty butternut squash: caramelized roasted and served on a typical fall food plate(see photo above), roasted with red onions, tahini, za’atar and yogurt, roasted with limes, cardamom, allspice, sprinkled with lime juice, tahini and cayenne, chutney, vegetarian paté, candy … And I am sure there are many more possibilities.
We were “only” able to harvest 8 butternut squash this season.
3 down, 5 to go, we will make them count.
[I will replace the borrowed photos with my own as we cook these recipes this winter]