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.
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