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Saturday 25 October 2014

Butternut nosh

WHEN November gets into its stride, it's time to start cooking with the colourful and versatile butternut squash.

This week, I'm giving you a recipe for a salad, a tasty risotto and an unusual side dish using this bright, flavourful ingredient.

Roasted butternut squash and

quinoa salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

>1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

>2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, separated

>Sea salt

>Freshly ground black pepper

>400ml vegetable broth

>200g quinoa

>2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

>1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

>100g chopped walnuts

>2 bags mixed lettuce greens

Method

>Preheat the oven to 200°C.

>Toss the butternut squash with about 1 tbsp of olive oil.

>Transfer to a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

>Roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes.

>When the squash is just about done, combine the vegetable broth and quinoa in a separate saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer for five minutes. Set aside.

>While the quinoa rests, whisk together the remaining tbsp of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar to make a quick dressing. Once the quinoa is ready, pour the dressing over it.

>Add the squash, red onion and walnuts and toss to evenly mix the ingredients.

>Add in the lettuce greens and stir.

>Serve immediately, while the salad is still warm.

Butternut squash over risotto

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

>1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed into 1-inch pieces

>4 tbsp olive oil, separated

>2 litres (or more) chicken stock -- vegetarians can use vegetable broth

>4 cloves garlic, minced

>2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into half-inch pieces

>1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

>400g arborio rice

>1 large handful of chopped fresh basil

>150g freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus additional for serving)

Method

>Preheat oven to 200°C

>Toss squash with half of the olive oil.

>Then roast butternut squash on a baking sheet with a rim for 25 minutes until it is tender.

>In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to a medium heat.

>In another large saucepan, heat remaining oil over a medium heat, sauté garlic and leeks until tender but not browned. Set aside.

>Add thyme and stir for one minute. Add rice and stir for a further minute

>Add ladle of stock and simmer until absorbed, stirring consistently for about three minutes per ladle.

>Add remaining stock one ladle at a time until all absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes, working continuously.

>Remove from heat, stir in garlic, leeks, basil and Parmesan cheese.

>Serve, topped with butternut squash.

>Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Butternut squash marshmallow bake

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

>3 (5-7lb) butternut squash, peeled, cubed and deseeded

>100ml water

>225g Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed

>75g brown sugar

>1 tsp ground red cayenne pepper

>2 large handfuls mini marshmallows

Method

>Preheat over to 200°C

>Place squash in a glass baking dish with water and bake for 45 minutes.

>Place squash into a large glass bowl, add cream cheese, sugar and pepper. Mash well.

>Spread squash into a baking dish, sprinkle with marshmallows, turn on the grill and toast marshmallows for 5-7 minutes until brown and beginning to melt.

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