I love it when autumn rolls in and the focus turns to butternut squashes (squashi?). Perhaps the loveliest of all squashland, these sweet yet subtle beauties can be made into a bevvy of tasty suppers.
I found this recipe for a spicy stuffed butternut squash the other day on Delicious Magazine’s rather lovely website. I liked it so much that I made it twice. The first time, I stuck to the recipe as it was. The second time, I wanted to see how I could improve on it. So, I added some nutmeg and bacon, as well as using feta cheese instead of goat’s cheese.
In the end, the nutmeg was a step too far. Or perhaps it was just too much to have the nutmeg and the bacon. Although the bacon was a wonderful addition, the original recipe didn’t really need it. The feta cheese, however, worked as equally well as the goat’s cheese.
Below is the recipe after I had tweaked it ever so slightly, but feel free to follow the original recipe over here. Either way, you’re on to a winningly filling yet healthy supper.
The original recipe called for a sprinkling of pumpkins seeds on top, which I didn’t use purely because I didn’t have them to hand. They’d work really well, as would pine nuts or a similar crunchy seed or nut.
What you need for Stuffed Butternut Squash for 2
1 butternut squash (you want to get a short and stout one rather than a long and slim one.)
1 red chili
80g of bacon or pancetta lardons (entirely optional)
About 80g of lovely fresh spinach
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Less than 50g of feta cheese or goat’s cheese
Heat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/ gas 6.
Cut off the round bottom bit of the butternut squash and set the longer, thinner neck of it aside. Slice the bottom in half and remove the seeds.
Put into a roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put in to the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. (This cooking time will vary a little depending on your oven and the size of your squashes! So just keep an eye on them. They’ll be tender at the touch of a fork when they’re done.)
Meanwhile, peel and chop the neck part of the butternut squash into very small cubes. Deseed and finely chop the red chili. Wash the spinach leaves really well, removing any hard stalks. Finally, roughly chop the spinach.
Once the butternut squash bottoms have had about 15 minutes in the oven, you can start to fry the small cubes.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Having seasoned both with a pinch of salt and pepper, fry the butternut squash cubes and red chili for 15 minutes until the cubes have softened. Now add the bacon lardons and cook for another 10 minutes.
Check on the butternut squash bottoms in the oven. If they are ready, you can now add the spinach to the butternut squash cubes in the frying pan. If they need a few more minutes, take the pan off the heat in the meantime.
When the butternut squash in the oven is ready, you can add the spinach leaves to the frying pan. Over a medium to high heat, you can stir the spinach and butternut squash cubes together until the spinach has wilted. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, mixing well.
Finally crumble in the feta or goat’s cheese. Mix everything so that the cheese begins to melt.
Remove the butternut squash bottoms from the oven and transfer to plates. Fill the butternut squash with the spinach, squash and cheese mixture and serve immediately.
Here’s a good one for a Thursday evening. Twin Shadow’s Changes.