Spice-roasted squash wedges have long been a favorite of mine, especially for cozy winter nights on the sofa. But I was newly inspired when I discovered Sabrina Ghayour’s wonder¬ful Persiana cookbook, a beautiful recipe collection strongly influenced by the Middle East. The London-based chef takes an Asian pesto and squash dish created by her friend chef Tony Singh, and makes her own variation with feta, pomegranate, and a Persian-style pesto made of pistachio, coriander, parsley, and dill. It caressed my taste buds and lifted the vegetable to new heights. Nutty, sweet, and salty—it’s simply brilliant. I just had to come up with my own take on the recipe.
To make the dish simpler, I leave out the pomegranate and pesto and focus on the caramel sweetness of roasted squash, the biting sharpness of feta, and the flowery flavor of pistachios. I also add cumin to lend the dish an earthy note and a hint of warmth. Sabrina uses butternut squash in her recipe, but I sometimes replace that with Hokkaido squash, which has edible skin and needs less time in the oven.
Place the squash in a baking dish. Whisk together the olive oil and cumin and season generously with pepper. Pour this over the squash and use your hands to toss and coat the squash in the oil. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the squash wedges over and continue roasting until golden brown and soft when pricked with a fork—about 7 minutes for the Hokkaido squash and 15 minutes for the butternut squash.
While the squash is roasting, make the pistachio-feta dip: Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Add the feta, olive oil, and cumin, and purée until smooth. Season to taste with additional cumin. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside.