After a summer of salads the Autumn crop of colourful vegetables are here and it seems that the colours match the foliage! Butternut squash certainly reminds me of the Canadian burnt oranges and is a beautiful introduction into the pumpkins that are being carved in pumpkin patches across the country. This little dish is a fantastic side dish or a lovely vegetarian option. Preparation is kept to a minimum but the flavours sing through.
- 1 butternut squash
- 3 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
- 100g ricotta
- 50g pine nuts
- 1/2 pkt fresh sage
- 75g unsalted butter
- Preheat the barbecue for 180-200c roasting / indirect heat with the lid down, vents open as applicable.
- Top and tail the squash but don’t worry about peeling it. Cut in half lengthwise, then into quarters, eighths, etc. until you have segment about 1/2″ thick. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Place the squash slices on a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Using your hands tumble the squash in the oil and seasoning until all pieces are evenly coated.
- With the barbecue preheated place the squash slices on the grill in the area of roasting /indirect heat. Place a small enamel/ovenproof dish in the area of roasting /indirect heat with the pine nuts inside and close the lid.
- Roast for a few minutes before quickly giving the pine nuts a shake in the dish, before closing the lid. Continue this for a few times until the pine nuts have a lovely golden appearance then remove them from the grill to a small clean bowl and continue roasting the squash.
- After 25-30 minutes check the squash using the tip of a small paring knife. Once it feels softened from being roasted move the slices to an area of the barbecue over grilling / direct heat. Depending on the heat of your grill leave for a minute or two to get some nice caramelisation stripes before turning over to grill the second side. Remove from the barbecue, cover and keep warm.
- Put the empty enamel dish back on the grill over a moderate grilling / direct heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted and begun to bubble add the picked sage leaves. Toss and coat in the hot butter and close the lid. Continue cooking the sage leaves until they have fried a little and turned crispy. Keep an eye on the butter and don’t allow to burn. If the colour is becoming too dark move the dish to an area of roasting / indirect heat and add an extra small knob of butter to slow down the browning.
- On a warm serving plate arrange the squash slices, then dot with the ricotta, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts before adding the fried sage leaves and drizzling with the brown sage butter.