Go Nuts for the Butternut Squash: Recipes

butternut squash recipePhyllida Barnes talks us through two easy-peasy butternut squash recipes

With these two simple recipes you can make two meals with very little effort and not much expense – the leftovers from the first are even added to the second. The ingredients are also terribly nutritious: butternuts, onions and garlic provide a potent mix of vitamins and antioxidants – and of course we need carbs for energy. Sprinkle some bacon on either the soup or the pasta dish for extra protein if you feel like it.

Top tips:

• To peel a butternut squash slice it horizontally into ‘rounds’, then chop the peel off with a sturdy, sharp knife
• The seeds can be scraped out with a pudding spoon
• If you prefer cooking without butter, olive oil on its own is fine (I just like the extra flavour butter gives most things!)
Butternut Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

Generous splash of olive oil and a nice big blob of butter
2 medium sized white onions, peeled and chopped
5 or more garlic cloves (according to taste) peeled and halved
1 largish butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm chunks
A couple of sage leaves, chopped
Any old carrots or celery languishing in your fridge, peeled and chopped
1.5 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraiche, according to taste (with or without the soup will be delicious!)

1. Put a large pan on to heat and line the bottom of it with olive oil. Add a dollop of butter if required.
2. Add chopped onions and garlic to heated oil and fry until transparent.
3. Add pieces of butternut squash (and carrots and celery if you are using them) and coat with oil. Fry for about 5/10 mins stirring regularly and taking care not to burn them.
4. Add stock, bring to boil and then simmer for approx. half an hour or until butternut is nice and soft.
5. Liquidise and add crème fraiche if you like (you could also add it as a cold dollop to the individual bowls of hot soup).
6. Serve with thick slices of your favourite bread.
Butternut and Spinach Cheesy Pasta

In an attempt to be more Italian and not quite so pasta-heavy as we normally are in the UK, I use two generous handfuls per person of whatever pasta I’m using. Because I would always rather do too much than too little, I then add a couple more to be on the safe side…

Serves 4

Ingredients

Approx. 2 generous handfuls per person of pasta – penne, fusilli or any of the large pastas are perfect
Olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large pack (fresh) or 1x 400g (canned) spinach
Leftover butternut soup
Any suitable cheese – cheddar/parmesan (grated) or mozzarella (sliced), according to taste and what’s in your fridge

1. Fry onions in olive oil until transparent.
2. Cook pasta in lots of boiling salted water.
3. While you are doing this, gently heat up butternut soup on the hob or in the microwave.
4. Add spinach to onion mixture and coat in olive oil until spinach is well droopy. Heat through thoroughly then turn off the heat.
5. Drain pasta and add spinach and onion mixture as well as heated butternut soup.
6. Add cheese according to taste.
7. Stir everything in and serve while piping hot.

To bulk out the recipes for more people, throw in another onion, some more carrots, or opt for an enormous butternut squash. Alternatively, simply double the quantities.