Butternut Squash - Medium
A knockout supper!
Stuffed butternut squash.
* 1 large butternut squash (about 1.5kg) or 2 small ones
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
* About 50g unsalted butter
* A little rapeseed or olive oil
* 75g walnuts, lightly toasted and very coarsely chopped
* 200g blue cheese, such as Dorset Blue Vinny or Harbourne Blue, crumbled into small lumps (or use a crumbly goat’s cheese)
* 2 tsp chopped thyme
* 1 scant tbsp runny honey
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method: How to make stuffed butternut squash
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 and a nut of butter to each cavity, then brush with a little oil and season well. Place in an oven preheated to 190°C/Gas Mark 5 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 buttery, 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. 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. Serve with a crisp green salad.
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.