Butternut squash is one of the delights of colder weather. This recipe, with its tangy, herbaceous flavors and beautiful colors, will become a “keeper.” And maybe a holiday tradition.
- 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces cilantro leaves and stems, plus extra leaves for garnish
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sriracha, or your favorite hot sauce
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 425ºF.
Wash the squash skin well, cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds, and then cut into wedges 3/4-inch wide and about 2 3/4-inches long, leaving the skin on. Place in a large bowl with the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper. Mix well so that the squash is evenly coated.
Place the squash, skin side down if possible, on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until soft and starting to color on top. (If they topple over and don’t stay skin side down, don’t worry.) Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the herb paste, place the cilantro, garlic, the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, and a generous pinch of salt in the bowl of a small food processor, blitz to form a ne paste, and set aside. (If you don’t have a small food processor, a mortar and pestle will work, or consider doubling the amounts to make in a large food processor and save any extra sauce for other uses.)
Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. The outer skin will pop open and the seeds will become light and crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
When you are ready to serve, swirl together the yogurt and sriracha sauce. (Yogurt’s thickness varies, so adjust the consistency to your liking with a splash of olive oil or water.) Lay the squash wedges on a platter and dollop or drizzle the spicy yogurt sauce and then the herb paste over the top (you can also swirl the yogurt sauce and herb paste together, if you like). Scatter the pumpkin seeds on top, followed by the extra cilantro leaves, and serve.
Serves 4 — Recipe from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Ottam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press 2014)