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Wednesday 6 April 2011

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Stuffed Butternut Squash

I picked this recipe up from everyone's favourite bespectacled hippie, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of the simply marvellous River Cottage. I love him.

As usual, I’ve made a couple of little changes to the original recipe to suit my own tastes (FYI, you should absolutely do this as often as you please – it’s the Domestic Sluttery way), but the soul of the recipe remains intact, and it’s the kind of dish you can adapt in lots of different ways according to the tastes of whomever’s going to eat it. You could add in some spinach (or bacon for the carnivores), or use goat’s cheese or blue cheese instead of feta, or add some walnuts instead of pinenuts, or bulk up the squash mixture with roasted zucchini or capsicum, or use a large sweet potato instead of the squash, or... whatever. Use your imagination.

You’ll need:
(Serves 4)

• Two small butternut pumpkins
• 4 tbsp butter
• Half a cup of pine nuts
• About 200g feta cheese
• Handful fresh basil leaves
• 4 tbsp freshly chopped garlic
• Two small red onions
• Half a cup grated parmesan

Make it!

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (ish).
2. Wash the outsides of the pumpkins and cut them in half lengthways.
3. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous insides. Put about a tablespoon each of chopped garlic and butter into each cavity. (I like a lot of garlic, but you could use half of that amount if you're not keen.) Pop them in the oven for about an hour, or until the flesh is soft but not so soft that the whole thing collapses – you need the shells to keep their shape.
4. Chop the red onions into small wedges, drizzle with olive oil and chuck them in the oven too. They’ll probably only need half an hour or so.
5. Lightly toast the pine nuts by dry-frying them in a pan on the stove. Make sure you keep them moving in the pan so they don’t burn. (If you don't feel like toasting them, you could really just put them in the mix as they are.)
6. Roughly chop the basil leaves.
7. After an hour or so, whip the pumpkin halves out of the oven and scoop out the flesh of all four, leaving about 1-1.5cm around the edges and on the bottom.
8. Put the pumpkin flesh in a bowl and crumble in the feta cheese, add the pine nuts, chopped basil leaves and onions (the wedges should have broken up in the oven) and roughly mash the whole lot up together.
9. Spoon the mixture evenly back into the four pumpkin halves, grate some Parmesan over the top of each and pop back in the oven for 15 minutes.
10. Serve to guests. Receive praise. Nod and smile graciously.

Flickr image from missmeng's photostream.

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