I created this one-pot dish after reading a whole slew of recipes from Diana Henry and Yotam Ottolenghi. Inspired by several of their recipes that balance the sweetness of squash or sweet potato with fiery heat, I set out to make a dish centered around butternut squash and chorizo that’s bold in flavor and weeknight doable. The result is this Spanish-inspired ragout that uses a speedy version of romesco as its base. The oven intensifies all of the flavors and transforms the romesco into a darker, bolder, better version of itself. It’s the kind of dish that’s warming and comforting, yet in a way that makes you sit up straight in your chair and pay attention to each and every bite.
Note: I've made this dish with imported, cured Spanish chorizo (i.e., the real deal, from Spain), and domestic, Spanish-style chorizo that is smoked and uncured. Either kind of chorizo works, but I prefer the texture of uncured Spanish-style chorizo in this dish, and luckily it's easier to source. —EmilyC
almonds or hazelnuts
14.5-ounce can diced or whole tomatoes (including juice)
roasted piquillo or red bell peppers, jarred or freshly roasted
large garlic cloves, peeled
teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (if your chorizo is spicy, you may want to omit)
1 1/2 teaspoons
Spanish smoked paprika
tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
kosher salt, to taste
pinch of sugar (optional)
For rest of dish:
large onion, finely chopped (yielding about 2 cups)
kosher salt, to taste
medium butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (yielding about 5 cups)
15-ounce can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
8 to 12 ounces
ounces fully-cooked Spanish or Spanish-style chorizo (domestic, smoked Spanish-style chorizo works really well here), cut into 1/4-inch slices
freshly squeezed lemon juice or sherry vinegar, to taste
Greek yogurt, for serving
Large handful of chopped cilantro (or parsley) leaves, for serving
To make romesco, in a food processor, pulse the almonds until they’re finely ground, about 20 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until well integrated. Add more salt, smoked paprika and/or sherry vinegar, to taste, and a pinch of sugar, if needed, to round out the flavors. (Can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.)
Heat olive oil in a large, shallow cast-iron casserole or 12-inch ovenproof sauté pan. Add onion and a big pinch of salt, and sauté until softened and translucent but not colored, about 6 minutes. Add the squash and 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring well to coat the squash with the onions and oil. Sauté another 8 minutes, or until the outside of the squash starts to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas, chorizo, and romesco – stirring well to coat all of the ingredients with the romesco. It will seem like a lot of romesco, but it will cook down considerably in the oven.
Transfer the casserole to the oven, and roast uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes (stirring two or three times for even cooking), or until the squash is tender and the romesco has reduced and darkened in color. Remove from oven. Taste, and adjust salt and acidity with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice, or more sherry vinegar.
Serve warm with a big dollop of greek yogurt and chopped cilantro. I like serving it over a bed of couscous, and a simple green salad on the side wouldn't be out of place.