Butternut squash is a relative newcomer to Paris. When I moved here in the 1970s I encountered it rarely, if ever. But now it has acquired star power at some of the finest tables in town. I tasted it most recently at one of my favorite bistros, Au Passage, where the squash was served warm, topped with pine nuts and radicchio. Inspired by the bistro’s chef, Shaun Kelly, I decided to try to replicate the dish, substituting flat-leaf parsley for the radicchio.
Courge butternut rôtie aux pignons / Roasted butternut squash with pine nuts
In fact, in creating this dish — which I served at a dinner party to applause last week — I was also inspired by my recent trip to Sicily, where my friend Gisella cooked up a fabulous Christmas Eve feast featuring both pine nuts (with polpette di manzo in agrodolce, meatballs cooked in a sweet-and-sour tomato sauce) and flat-leaf parsley (with carciofi trifolati, sliced artichokes sautéd with garlic). The smoky, sultry artichokes were to die for, and I will pass along that recipe to you once artichoke season rolls around here in France. Meantime, it’s been a great break but I’ve very glad to be back in both the kitchen and the blogosphere. To everyday chefs everywhere, a very happy new year — and happy cooking!
P.S. Here is what Gisella served at her Sicilian Christmas Eve dinner:
Lasagne with pumpkin and ricotta
Lasagne with radicchio and gorgonzola
Baked rice with speck ham, peas and mozzarella
Meatballs with pine nuts and currants
Pork cooked in milk
Sliced artichokes with garlic and parsley
Caramelized sweet-and-sour onions
Salad of lamb’s lettuce with walnuts, arugula and pear
Exotic fruit salad
I have only two words to say about this: Grazie, Gisella!