Monday, 13 September 2010

Recipes: Two Things to do With Butternut Squash

Autumn means squash and if you grow them in your garden it means a lot of them so here's a couple of recipes that will help use a lot of butternut squash.  The base of both recipes is a butternut squash puree that is easy to make and takes a minimum of prep.  It stores well and is pretty versatile, so you can make it up in advance.
Start by peeling and de-seeding a large butternut squash.  Cut into small cubes.  Melt around 50g of butter in a large heavy bottomed pan.  Gently saut√© the leaves from around four or five sprigs of thyme for a minute or so before adding in the diced butternut squash.  After a couple of minutes add in a half glass of white wine and a couple of minutes later three finely chopped garlic cloves.  Make sure the contents of the pan never get dry and start to fry and add water when needed, having said that your looking for a pretty thick end product so be sparing with the liquid you add.  When the cubes are mash until smooth and cook further if it needs to be thicker - you're (rather appetisingly) looking for something around the consistency of baby food.  Season to taste.

Ok on to our recipes.  The first of these is a recreation of something I ate in J. Sheekey's years ago and that used to occasionally appear on their weekend menus: butternut squash cannelloni with blue cheese sauce and walnut.  This is a very rich dish so the amount below will feed three (or one over an hour or two if you're having a bad day).


4/5 - 5/6 of above mixture
12 thin dry cannelloni tubes
3 tbs flour
40-50g butter
1 pint milk
150g creamy blue cheese
grating of parmesan
150g walnuts

Start making your white sauce.  Melt your butter and make a roux by adding the flour stirring until all the butter is absorbed and the flour is cooked.  Slowly add the milk making sure to beat out all lumps.  Do this at the start otherwise its near impossible.  When all the milk is incorporated keep stirring over the heat until it has thickened to the consistency of double cream.  Take of the heat, allow to cool for a minute and slowly add in the cheese, leaving some aside.  The sauce needs to be warm when you do this so the cheese melts, if you do it on the heat however, it will get stringy and the fat will split out.  Season to taste.

When this is done quickly dry fry the walnuts in a pan to crisp them up.    Now start spooning in your butternut squash mixture into the cannelloni until they are full.  This is easiest with a piping bag, but its not hard without it either and I didn't have one to hand and couldn't be bothered to make one.  Put a layer of the cheese sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange your cannelloni on top poor over the rest of the sauce, sprinkle over the walnuts and add the remaining cheese on top.  Cook in a pre-heated 180C/ gas mark 4 oven for around 30-40 minutes or until brown on top and the pasta cooked.  Serve with a crisp green salad to counteract the richness.

Recipe 2: Butternut Squash and Chorizo risotto feeds two


4 inches of chorizo finely chopped
1 small onion diced
2 large handfuls risotto rice
1 pint chicken stock
1 tbs olive oil
1/6-1/5 butternut squash mixture
1 tsp chilli oil
half glass of white wine
1 handful parmesan

Start by heating the olive oil fry the onion and chorizo in a heavy bottomed pan, but don't let the onion get brown.  Add the rice and allow to fry for a minute before adding the wine.  When nearly evaporated start adding the stock ladelful by ladelful stirring continuously to develop the starch from the rice that makes risotto nice and creamy.  The heat should be low-medium  When half the stock is evaporated add in the puree.  Add as much of the remaining stock as necessary until the risotto is cooked through and a nice thick consistency.  When ready add the chilli oil and the parmesan of the heat.  Again serve with a salad since this is pretty rich.

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