Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Stuffed butternut squash and Weekend Herb Blogging

This week is my turn to host the Weekend Herb Blogging event. I am so excited. It is a very successful event that has been in the blogsphere for quite some time and has quite a faithful group of followers. Since Monday I have already been receiving various emails from people who have sent their contribution already. I am amazed at people’s dedication and organization. Thank you to all of you who have already been able to post your share. Contrary to my own record – I tend to post on the last day; I have already prepared my first contribution to the week.
If you are new here and are not familiar with the Weekend Herb Blogging event, it is a weekly occurrence in the English language blogsphere where should you choose to take part, you need to select a main ingredient for your post, prepare a dish with it and in addition to sharing the preparation method with all, also tell us about the ingredient of your choice. Kalyn from the lovely blog Kalyn’s Kitchen is the master mind behind this event. She is one of the sweetest persons I have come across, very kind and due to the success of this event that has been going on for over 2 years I am not the only one who thinks that. If you want to take part in future events, check this link for details about the event, who is posting and future dates - Weekend Herb Blogging.

My ingredient of choice this week is the butternut squash. Last week I received one in my weekly veggie basket and I immediately ran to prepare it. In one of the magazines that I buy every so often, Delicious, they had a recipe for stuffed butternut squash and I just had to prepare it. It is a very versatile recipe as you can play with it and mix and match ingredients of your choice. It just so happened that I used most of the ones in the recipe this time. However whilst preparing and eating it I already thought about how it can be done differently next time. Not because I didn’t like it, on the contrary.It is just that the sweetness of the butternut squash can go so well with many other ingredients, plus it is a fairly quickly dish to put together. And it is full of good things for you. I was reading about butternut squash for this post and found out a few interesting facts:

  • It seems that it was eaten in the Americas over 5,000 years ago – cultivated by the Incas in the 15t Century
  • It belongs to the same family of the pumpking, cucumber and courgette. The butternut squash falls under the winter harvested squash, whereas cucumber and courgette are summer squashes
  • It is rich in complex carbs and low in saturated fat and sodium. It is also a very good source of vitamin A and C, plus betacarotene, magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium
  • They are the longes keeping vegetables. If kept in a cool and ventilated place they can be kept for 2 months or more – I would have never thought that. However, if kept at room temperature or in the fridge they will deteriorate quite quickly

There is also the additional bonus that they can be used in so many different types of dishes: gratin, soups, purees, curries, pasta dishes, risottos..

This is how I prepared my dish:

The ingredients chosen were:

2 buttenut squash halved as described below; olive oil, onions/shallots, garlic, spinach, crumbled goats cheese, sal, black pepper, juice of ½ lemon, pinolli

I preheated the oven to 180oC.

I took two butternut squashes and cut off the long halves of each squash. I got the seeds out of the round end as well as a bit of the flesh. I drizzled it with a bit of olive oil and put it in the oven on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime I peeled the long bits and chopped them in little pieces. I also chopped some shallot. I heated a non-stick frying pan, put some olive oil on it and softened the shallots and crushed garlic. I then tipped the chopped butternut squash and cooked until starting to get soft – I added a few drops of water at some point. Only then did I throw the spinach in, and stir it until it wilted. I seasoned and added the goats cheese as well as some pinolli. I removed it from the heat, and squeezed a bit of lemon juice in.

I removed the round bit from the oven and filled them with the filling above – you might have some left over as not all will fit in. You can keep that and have it with pasta the next day..Or do what I did which was to have it on the side as well.


Meeta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meeta said...

valentina! i love this photo it's making me drool. the combination of flavors here are incredible!

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

So pretty! For many years I did not believe I liked squash (they were always choked in sweet spices) but now I love them, and this sort of thing is the best squash-delivery system, showing off the flavor and shape!

Natashya said...

That looks wonderful. I love butternut squash - it just seems like autumn when I have it.

Kalyn said...

What a lovely sounding dish! I love butternut squash, dating way back from when my grandmother Denny used to make it for me. I was one of the few children in the family who liked it (sure sign that I would grow up to be the foodie in the bunch, don't you think?)

Great photo and great sounding recipe.