As a crafter, I often pop over to the lovely Jane Willis’ site Onions and Paper to see her latest card offerings. But this weekend I found a post that she’d made a few weeks ago where she’d recreated a recipe by Sabrina Ghayour from her Persiana Book, and it looked sensational. It seemed so scrumptious that I bookmarked it, then sent the link over to Andy so he knew we would be making it in the week.
We already had butternut squash in the cupboard (I think just cutting it into wedges and roasted with a sprinkle of pink salt is terrific) but thought the idea of baking it and filling it appealed greatly.
The recipe (below at bottom) says to make the pesto use 100g of shelled pistachio nuts, 75g of Parmesan however when we blended it with the herbs, lemon juice and the olive oil it was too strong and incredibly thick. You are supposed to drizzle it. We had to dollop it, so if we try it again, we’ll just put 25g of pistachio and 20g of Parmesan in it with four tablespoons of olive oil. It was a newbie mistake. I think the vast amount of nuts just mopped up the oil rather than allowing it to flow.
Andy cut the butternut squash up in quarters, rubbed it with five sprays of Fry Light on each one instead of using a tablespoon of olive oil, and roasted it in the oven for 50 minutes. It was just enough for the flesh to be soft but for it to keep its shape. It chard the squash beautifully so it was ready to fill with pesto.
We spread the pesto thinly on the curve of the squash, then filled it with the feta (150g low-fat salad cheese from Tesco for two people – again was a bit too much for me) and pomegranate seeds (we only used 80g as that was sufficient for us). The seeds give it just a little pop of sweetness to cut through the sharpness from the Parmesan in the pesto and the salad cheese gives you the saltiness.
It is gorgeous but I will tweak the recipe next time to bring the calories down to something more acceptable as using 14 tablespoons of olive oil in the pesto to try to thin it down alone is 1400 calories, and that’s far too many to blow any dieter out of the ballpark.
Thanks go out to Jane though, as without her blogging about it, I would not have bought the book and tried it myself. I’ve already ordered Andy out to the supermarket to get another butternut squash as I’m keen to try it with a drizzle and not a plop.
Have a go – tell me how you get on!
Sabrina Ghayour's Butternut Squash
Here's the original version so why not give it a go.
- 100 g shelled pistachio nuts
- 70 g Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, chopped into rough chunks
- 1 small bunch of parsley, leaves picked
- 1 small bunch of coriander, leaves picked
- 1 small bunch of dill, leaves picked
- Olive oil
- 3 tbsp chilli oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sea salt
- 1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways and deseeded
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 150 g feta cheese
- 100 g pomegranate seeds
In a food processor, blitz the pistachios and cheese together, adding a generous amount of olive oil to slacken the mixture. Put all the herbs into the food processor with a little more olive oil as well as the chilli oil and lemon juice and blitz again, then add a handful of crushed sea salt and give the mixture one last blitz. Taste the pesto, ensuring it has enough salt and acidity, then allow it to rest in the refrigerator until you need it.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Once the oven is hot, rub each wedge of butternut squash with the oil, season generously with sea salt and black pepper and place it on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper.
Roast the squash for about 45 to 50 minutes, or just until the edges have begun to char slightly. You want to blacken the edges a little this gives them a nice chewy texture. To check the squash to see if it is properly cooked, insert a knife into the flesh if it slides clean through, the squash is ready. If you feel resistance, return the squash to the oven for a few more minutes.
Serve each wedge of butternut squash on a plate, drizzled generously with the vibrant green pesto. Crumble the feta cheese on top and scatter over the pomegranate seeds to finish.