Saturday, October 17, 2009

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, GARLIC, SAGE PUREE



i know we'll probably see a zillion recipes for butternut squash soup in the next few months, but this one isn't really a soup, although you can just add a little more stock and a splash of cream to make it a warm, fall-ish bowl of gold. actually i found it in a health magazine and it was presented as a healthy alternative pasta sauce teamed up with some whole wheat pasta. yum!
i opted for a thick rich puree used under large pan seared scallops. not only was in tasty, but the color was so vivid and visually appealing.




so easy..it's just the darn prep work that takes a bit of time. of course, after the fact, i realize i could have bought already peeled garlic and ready skinned and diced butternut, but where's the fun in that?...sometimes the dish tastes just a bit better with a hint of sweat in the mix...right?
one of my least fav savory chores is peeling garlic AND skinning and cutting up those butternuts is not pleasant either. i know you can roast the butternut in halves, but i think the diced lends itself to the flavor more. more roasting area equals more roasty flavors.



this thick puree also is great for plate decor. i made these three quick swipes with a spoon and they stayed nicely for maybe 20mins or so. i say this because if you were serving quite a few people the plate would hold up well for service. didn't run or get watery like some do. maybe it's due to the trace oil and controlled chicken stock addition.

RECIPE...
well, as i often find...some of the best things have the fewest ingredients.

peel and cube a med. size butternut squash
peel a whole head of garlic (i love garlic, really LOVE roasted garlic)
lightly toss with some good olive oil, salt and pepper to your liking.
now, if i were making it for myself alone, i would have put some heat in there. a little sprinkle of cayenne or chili arbor would do the trick.
put this in a large baking pan or cookie sheet. best if they are all out flat and not piled up.
400 degrees. get in there and toss it all around about every 10 mins 'till it all looks nice and roasty and the squash is fork tender. remove it from the oven and while it's still warm toss it with approx 1/4 finely chopped FRESH sage. i say approx because butternuts come in a wide variety of sizes, so just use a little more than you might think, i did, and was pleased with the flavor of the sage singing throughout.
now put this all in a nice tall sauce pan (you'll want to use a wand blender so chose your pan accordingly) add a little chicken stock. just a minimum at first untill you get the desired consistancy. season to taste and
VOILA...done...could that be any easier?
IMPORTANT...i think a hand/wand blender is manditory for this type of stuff. in fact, i think they should be manditory for every kitchen. i use mine all the time. so much easier than a stand up blender (which would not work for this thick of a puree) and a heck of alot cleaner and easier than the big ol' cuisinart.

the rest of the family had it as soup the next night and i enjoyed as a side a few times after that...so it holds up really well, again, it didn't get watery.
the following week i did the same thing with a sweet pumpkin...you want to talk difficult peeling and cutting?...but well worth it. so well worth it i bought another and need to go down staires and get started right now.
maybe i should stop by the garage and get the chain saw...?
PS...update...the sweet pumpkin i just had was unbelievably good. i did the same as above, BUT sprinkled just a hint of pumpkin spice on before roasting. still couldn't add the cayenne (wimpy palettes in this house), but the pumkin spice is a must try. by the way, i like to make my own pumpkin spice by mixing
1/2 t. ginger, 1/2 t. ground clove, 1/2 t. allspice, 1/2 t. nutmeg and 1 t. cinnamon...much better than that already made store bought stuff.

2 comments:

Stephan said...

This looks so good!

I had a dish similar to this one, at a restaurant called Ivy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. However, they made a caramel of the butternut squash, on top a bit of crispy pecorino and on top of that a really nice, old parma. one of the most delicious dishes i've ever tasted! No clue on how to make the buttersquash toffee/caramel myself though! Any ideas?

Meanwhile, im definately gonna make this this fall!

Anonymous said...

You don't really need to peel the garlic, just separate the cloves and roast in skins. Later you can squeeze out the good stuff.

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