Roasted winter squash

This recipe is inspired on one of Nigel Slater's from his brilliant Celebration of Autumn and Winter Vegetables, Sainsbury's Magazine 1998. It is ideal for winter squashes that have very low water content and therefore cook almost like carrots. Try it with butternut, acorn, little gem or potimarron (also known as chestnut bush), but keep clear of the Halloween pumpkins as they will go into a mush; instead use those for pumpkin pie. Here I use a mixture of herbs in particular sweet marjoram which I managed to grow well last summer and it imparts a lovely taste. Also I use the lovely pumpkin oil from Austria for a final seasoning just before serving: scrumptious.

Yield

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200 C, 400 F.

Chose a nice oven to table dish that will take the squash in a fairly crowded layer. Cut the squash, remove and discard seeds and fibers, then slice it a bit like one cuts melon. Peel the slices, by the way if you using potimarron there is no need to bother. Cut the slices into smaller chunks and put them in the baking dish. Add everything else except the pumpkin oil, mix well and pop the dish in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until it is soft and nicely coloured around the edges. Remove and drizzle with the pumpkin oil, serve while hot.

Now roast squash goes very well with couscous and tomato sauce, as suggested by Nigel Slater, making a lovely vegetarian meal. It is also very good with robust meat dishes.

Now another lovely dish is to roast the same way a mixture of equal parts winter squash, celeriac and parsnips. Scrumptious.

Maria Fremlin, 11 March 2000

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