I love squash, and I love that I can find it at the market stalls all year round. But what I love even more is having a recipe that allows me to enjoy this beautiful vegetable while avoiding the annoyance of peeling it! My friend Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall (well, he’s not really my friend, but for gifting me with this and many other recipes he can’t be an enemy) gave me the most brilliant idea in his book “Veg every day”, and this simple recipe has become “the way” we make squash at the Italian household of Blender and Basil.
2-4 smallish squash (or one large to share – think that a 400g squash can ve a serving)
2 large leeks
250gr chestnut mushrooms (or select your favourite)
125gr pecorino cheese (or another type of strong-flavoured hard type of cheese), finely grated
1 tsp English mustard
4 tbsp crème fraiche
salt and pepper
Step 1 – Chop the mushrooms into small cubes. In a frying pan heat up half of the butter and once it’s completely melted add the mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and cook until they lose all the liquid and are tender. Then place them in a bowl.
Step 2 – In the same frying pan, melt the rest of the butter and fry the leeks you previously sliced into very fine rings. Once they begin to sizzle, cover with a lid and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. When they are very soft, add them to the bowl where you placed the mushrooms.
Step 3 – Then add the cheese, mustard and crème fraiche and mix together. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper, as it will need extra seasoning to when mixing with the squash.
Step 4 – Slice a very fine part of the peel from the bottom of the squash, so that it can stand up on the oven tray. Then slice a lid off the top. With a small sharp knife, take out all the seeds and fibers, leaving only the flesh.
Step 5 – Fill the squash cavities with the mixture, covering up to one third of the inside. Then place some thyme sprigs on top, and cover with the lid.
Step 6 – Place in the hot oven and bake at 190º for 50-60 minutes or even longer if needed, until the squash feels very soft on the inside. Serve hot!Follow @blenderbasil