Three Christmas trees ago, my dad offered me this fabulous cookbook, Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi. At that time, I had in mind that complex flavors necessarily meant complex recipes and techniques, but Ottolenghi proved me otherwise with this book. The only truth though is that the list of ingredients is rarely short, and the combination of all spices and herbs always is very savant.
Ottolenghi is a London-based Israeli chef. Although his book shows an extensive panel of daily dishes from his hometown, but the now world famous chef recently emphasized on the foregrounding of more vegetables-only recipes and unusual flavour combinations. Reading Jerusalem, I found out about some vegetables that I didn’t expect to be on the dinner tables in this part of the world, like celeriac or butternut squash for instance. And so, with Autumn finally being in full swing here in France, the abundance of squash of all sorts made me want to try one of Ottolenghi’s recipes.
As always, I made some small amendments to the original recipe, such as using peanut butter instead of tahini for the sauce. I also added some more nutty flavor to the dish thanks to small pieces of aged-Mimolette cheese, and I finally opted for serving this dish along with a nice runny egg. The result was fabulous, and flavors were bursting in the mouth. Using the zaatar really was interesting too! Healthy – as long as one does not abuse of tahini (or peanut butter) – this dish totally is vegetarian-friendly and totally suitable for a nice and hearty meatless dinner. That’s definitely a dish I will cook over and over again!
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 red onions
- olive oil
- 30 g of pine nuts
- 3.5 tbsp of tahini (also called “tehina”, sesame paste)
- If tahini is unavailable, replace by peanut butter
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1.5 tbsp of lemon juice
- 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp of minced parsley
- 1 tbsp of zaatar
- salt and pepper
- Optional: a few dices of aged-Mimolette cheese for more additional nutty flavors
- Preheat the oven at 240 degrees C.
- Peel and dice the butternut squash. In a large mixing bowl, salt and pepper the butternut, pour a bit of oil and thoroughly combine until all dices are well coated.
- On a baking sheet, spread the butternut over the oven baking tray and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 160 degrees and keep roasting for 10 more minutes. Switch off the oven and keep the door open to maintain the butternut lukewarm.
- In the meantime, roughly mince the red onions and fry them in a pan. 2 minutes before it’s done, add the pine nuts and briefly roast them. Reserve in individual plates and add the butternut too.
- Prepare the sauce: combine the tahini with the lemon juice, the garlic, the Greek yogurt and a bit of salt. Whisk the sauce by adding cold water bit by bit until the sauce reaches the consistency of honey. With a spoon, spread the sauce over the dish.
- Mince fresh parsley leaves over the plates, display the aged-Mimolette (if using) and sprinkle the zaatar in the end.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2018 All Rights Reserved.