Friday, November 5, 2010

Stuffed Butternut Squash

The original recipe was on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's show River Cottage Everyday, which I am loving because it's been full of lots of great, easy recipes using fresh veggies, etc.  But then, I love Hugh and his corny, self-deprecating sense of humor, so I'd probably watch it even if he were cooking goose brains or chicken feet (which he has probably done at one time or another).  

Regardless, I cooked these squash last night with some grilled chicken and steamed broccoli (I did half of this recipe using a small squash...and made a couple adjustments, cutting out the butter, adding breadcrumbs and using less cheese) and they were LOVELY.  So have a go.  It's easy. 

Serves 4  

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1.5kg) or 2 small ones
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • A little olive oil
  • 75g (about 1/3 cup) walnuts, lightly toasted and very coarsely chopped
  • 150-200g (1/2-3/4 cup) crumbly cheese such as goat's, feta, or bleu cheese (I used a mix of goat's and feta last night because it's what I had in the fridge)
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 2-4 tbsp of breadcrumbs
  • 1 scant tbsp runny honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1.   Make sure the outside of the squash is scrubbed clean. Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds and soft fibres. Put in a roasting dish, add the chopped garlic then brush with a little oil and season well. Place in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F and bake for ¾-1 hour, until the flesh feels very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

2.   Scoop the soft flesh and all the garlicky juices out into a bowl, leaving a 1cm thick layer of flesh still attached to the skin, so the squash holds its shape. Roughly mash the flesh. Keep back a few pieces of walnut and a little of the cheese, then fold the remaining walnuts and cheese into the soft squash, along with the thyme and some more salt and pepper.

3.  Spoon the filling back into the empty squash halves and scatter on the reserved cheese and walnuts with a bit of breadcrumb on the top to give it a bit of crunchy texture. Finish with the merest trickle of honey, then return the squash to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.

If you want to add a bit more calories to it, here are some variations....

Variation: Crispy bacon-stuffed squash
Chop 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon and fry for a minute or two until crisp and golden. Stir these into the soft squash flesh, along with about 50g finely grated Gruyère cheese, a tablespoon of chopped chives and plenty of black pepper. Top with a little more grated Gruyère before returning to the oven.

Variation: Crème fraîche and herb-stuffed squash
Add 1 teaspoon each of finely chopped basil, thyme and oregano to the mashed squash, stir in 3-4 tablespoons of crème fraîche and season very well before returning to the oven.


  1. That sounds absolutely amazing! I'm a huge fan of mixing squash and nuts - at a restaurant last year I had ravioli with butternut squash, hazelnuts, and feta. It was totally sold me on the idea of mixing textures, not to mention the sweetness of the squash with the saltiness of the feta. I made it into a lasagna since I can't quite figure out making ravioli just yet!

  2. Yummy...make this tonight! Can't wait to taste!

  3. i added sauted chestnut mushrooms to it this past week (because of their nutty flavor) and that was a nice addition as well. i'd think if you wanted to stretch it even further, you could saute some chopped sweet onion too and add it to the mix....