This bright and comforting recipe is as welcome on your Thanksgiving table as it is in your simplest winter dinner. An herby cilantro sauce (which will be just as delicious with your favorite fresh, soft herb of choice, cilantrophobes—try mint, parsley, tarragon, or a mix) and zingy yogurt sauce add life to the sticky sweet butternut squash. And Ottolenghi's no-peel casual approach to squash opens up our world to easier cooking with squash all fall and winter. The contrast between crispy skin and the soft squash interior cements this technique as a keeper. A caveat—if your squash has seen better days or is extremely difficult to carve through, it is probably best to peel the squash first (or not wrestle with it much at all—instead halve it, and roast it cut side down to make an easier puree; the seeds and peel will come right off). Recipe adapted slightly from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press, October 2014). —Genius Recipes
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Squash With Chile Yogurt & Cilantro Sauce From Yotam Ottolenghi
large butternut squash (3 pounds or 1.4 kilograms)
(90 milliliters) olive oil
1 3/4 ounces
(50 grams) cilantro, leaves and stems, plus extra leaves for garnish
small clove garlic, crushed
scant 2 1/2 tablespoons
(20 grams) pumpkin seeds
(200 grams) Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons
Sriracha or another savory chile sauce
Wash the squash skin well, cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds, and then cut into wedges 3/4 inch wide and about 2 3/4 inches long, leaving the skin on. Place in a large bowl with the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper. Mix well so that the squash is evenly coated. Place the squash, skin side down if possible, on 2 baking sheets and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until soft and starting to color on top. (If they topple over and don't stay skin side down, don't worry.) Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the herb paste, place the cilantro, garlic, the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, and a generous pinch of salt in the bowl of a small food processor, blitz to form a fine paste, and set aside. (If you don’t have a small food processor, a mortar and pestle will work, or consider doubling the amounts to make in a large food processor and save any extra sauce for other uses.)
Turn down the oven temperature to 350º F. Lay the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. The outer skin will pop open and the seeds will become light and crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
When you are ready to serve, swirl together the yogurt and Sriracha sauce. (Yogurt’s thicknesses will vary so feel free to adjust the consistency to your liking with a splash of olive oil or water.) Lay the squash wedges on a platter and dollop or drizzle the spicy yogurt sauce and then the herb paste over the top (you can also swirl the yogurt sauce and herb paste together, if you like). Scatter the pumpkin seeds on top, followed by the extra cilantro leaves, and serve.