Courge butternut rôtie aux pignons

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Roasted butternut squash with pine nuts

This richly flavored winter dish may be served hot or at room temperature. It makes a spectacular starter, marries well with roasted meat or poultry, and has enough star power to stand alone as a main dish, accompanied by salad, grains or another vegetable.

1 butternut squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

1/4 cup pine nuts
several stems flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to gas mark 7 (425 F, 220 C). Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or, if that’s not available, brush the pan with olive oil.

In a small bowl combine the olive oil, salt, cumin, pepper and garlic halves.

Place the pine nuts in a cake tin and roast in the oven until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Be very careful because the pine nuts can quickly go from brown to burnt. As soon as you smell their aroma, check, and if they are not done shake the pan and return to the oven very briefly. When done, remove to a cool plate to stop the cooking process.

Slice off both ends of the butternut squash. Slice in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Slice each half lengthwise again to make quarters. Cut each quarter crosswise into manageable chunks to make peeling easier. Using a very sharp knife, remove the peel. Now slice into pieces about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick.

Place the butternut pieces in the baking pan. Do not overlap — if there are too many pieces, you will have to roast the squash in two batches. Remove the garlic from the olive oil sauce. Using a pastry brush, coat the squash with the sauce. Place in the oven to roast.

The total roasting time will be about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the baking pan, flip the butternut pieces and brush with any remaining olive oil sauce. Return to the oven and roast until the pieces are tender and starting to brown.

While the squash is roasting, wash the parsley by immersing it in a bowl of cold water. Place a couple layers of paper toweling on a plate. Remove the parsley from the water stem by stem, separate the leaves from the stems and place only the leaves on the paper towels. When finished, cover with another paper towel and pat gently to dry the leaves.

You are now ready to assemble your preparation. Place the roasted butternut pieces in a serving dish. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and top with the parsley. Serves 4-6.

* Chosen by FrenchEntrée.com to celebrate 100 issues of FrenchEntrée magazine


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10 Responses to Courge butternut rôtie aux pignons

  1. Christine says:

    Fabulous flavours, Meg! We have just eaten the roasted butternut with pork and fennel sausages and pureed potatoes……it was really easy to prepare and the cumin married well with the squash. I halved the recipe as the butternut squash are rather large here, and we still have leftovers which I think could be interesting as a base for a salad. David takes his lunch to work each day and uses a lot of different pulses so maybe he could add the squash?? I will let you know how that goes!!! In this part of the world we use squash, sweet potato and pumpkin in salads a lot……last Saturday we had guests and I made a sweet potato, avocado and tomato salad…….dressed with olive oil, cumin and white wine vinegar…..garnished with chopped coriander and parsley.

  2. Mlle Taupe says:

    This method is wonderful. I was afraid that, peeled & cut so small, my pieces of squash would get dry in the oven. Not at all! I guess it’s the olive oil coating that keeps them soft. They roast perfectly, & the cumin seeds are a brilliant touch. My market didn’t have any butternut so I used a French potimarron squash (like a very small pumpkin) and it was fine.

    • Meg says:

      Miss Taupe, thanks very much for your interesting tip about using potimarron in place of butternut squash. Sounds good. Just one thing: I should have specified in the recipe that by ‘cumin’ I meant powdered cumin and not cumin seeds. If you used the whole seeds instead and the dish turned out well, bravo! I will have to try that one of these days…

      • Mlle Taupe says:

        Actually, I did use whole cumin seeds but I dry-roasted them (as if for Indian food) & then squished them in the mortar & pestle. I was afraid whole seeds wouldn’t spread the flavor around enough.

  3. Such pretty colors in the photo! I will have to try this recipe.

  4. Meg,
    You were truly in luck — pork braised in milk is one of the largely unknown glories of the Italian kitchen, but I had no idea they made it way down in Sicily. I only thought they made it in the north, which is where I first tasted it long ago, on a papal trip up that way. They took the reporters to a little restaurant and that was the main course. It was so tender you could cut it with a spoon, and the little browned milk nuggets were an explosion of taste. I make it, and the whole family loves it, but it’s never tasted as good as that first one I had… Cheers, Paula

    • Meg says:

      It was indeed fabulous (if not exactly kosher). And could well have been a recipe from the north. I thought that Christmas Eve dinner in Sicily would be fish, not meat, but that turned out to be wrong. The next day, however, when we went to lunch at Gisella’s brother-in-law’s place, there was fish as well, including an amazing dish of salt cod with potatoes in a tomato-saffron sauce. Which I believe was truly a Sicilian specialty…

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