I adapted this recipe from one in Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, one of my favorite cookbooks these days. The warmth of the butternut squash roasted with cardamom and allspice made a great foil for the zesty yogurt dressing, lime, cilantro, and jalapeno. But I am running several Thanksgiving side dishes on my blog this week, and I wanted to make the recipe easier to make for a crowd and to serve on a buffet table for Thanksgiving. I cut the squash into chunks and tossed it with the spices rather than brushing individual slices, and incorporated all of the toppings into the yogurt dressing so that it's just one step to serve. I'm a vegetarian and I'd happily eat this as my main course along with a plateful of sides. —[email protected]
6, as a side dish
For the butternut squash
large butternut squash
1 1/2 tablespoons
salt and pepper
For the yogurt drizzle
freshly squeezed lime juice
jalapeno, minced (or a hotter pepper, if you like)
Trim the top and bottom off the butternut squash. Set the squash on its bottom and slice it down lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them.
Peel the butternut squash and dice it into large chunks. I left mine quite large, maybe 2 inches per side so that they would retain some shape when roasted. Arrange the squash in a single layer in a roasting pan.
To prepare the spice mixture, pound the cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle until the pods crack open. Pour out the pods onto a cutting board or plate and separate the pods from the seeds inside. (Granted, this process seems like it will be very time consuming, but it only took a few minutes and the resulting fresh cardamom is worth the effort.) Return the seeds to the mortar and pound again until the seeds are finely ground.
Empty the ground seeds into a small bowl. Add the allspice, salt, and pepper and whisk together. Add the olive oil and whisk again. Pour the spice mixture over the squash and mix it with your hands or a wooden spoon so that it thoroughly coats the squash pieces. Roast until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife, but not mushy. The roasting time will depend on the size of the squash pieces, but count on somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the yogurt sauce. Whisk the yogurt and tahini together with the lime juice. Add the cilantro and jalapeno and mix again. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. The dressing will be quite strong -- tart from the limes. But resist the urge to temper that flavor because it will be perfect when drizzled over the squash.
When the squash has finished roasting, arrange it onto a serving platter or into a large bowl, taking care to keep the pieces intact. The squash can be served hot or at room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle the yogurt sauce over the top or serve it in a small pitcher on the side.