September 20, 2010

Ottolenghi's Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses

Ottolenghi's simple food philosophy is something I really want to live by:

"We keep food as natural as possible (...),
we make best of what we have and don't interfere with it too much"

This is food realism, keeping it simple, not playing with food, and honouring the real flavours. This is exactly what I live for. Keeping this in mind I cannot stop braising the genius behind the Ottolenghi recipes. They are just deliriously tasty, well balanced and wholesome. Take this roasted butternut pumpkin with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses, for instance. I am not the one glorying my own makings, but since I cannot take the credit for this wizard of flavours, I can honestly and wholeheartedly say this was possibly one of the best meals I have ever had.

There is the humble roasted pumpkin which already on its own is one of the best things I can imagine having. Combine that with the toasted seed mix and enjoy with the most amazing dip, you'll get the idea of what I'm talking about.

You have to try this!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses
(Recipe from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook)

1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp green, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
(1 tsp nigella seeds)
10g sliced almonds
basil leaves, to serve
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper


1 medium aubergine
150g (I used less, about 100g) Greek yoghurt
(I used plain Organic yoghurt)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (I love this stuff!)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
(1 garlic clove, crushed)

Preheat oven to 220C. Trim the top and the bottom of the pumpkin and cut in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and cut each half into 3cm wedges. Cut each wedge into pieces about 5-7cm long. Place the pumpkin wedges on a roasting tray lined with baking paper, brush each wedge with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until they feel just tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Mix together all seeds and almonds and scatter on a roasting tray. Toast for 5-8 minutes or until slightly brown and fragrant (be careful not to burn them!)

For the sauce, place the aubergine under a very hot grill for about 30minutes or until the skin has clearly cracked and the aubergine feels heavy and soft. Remove from the oven, make a long cut through the aubergine and scoop out the flesh. Leave the flesh to drain in a colander for a few minutes, then chop the aubergine flesh roughly.

In a bowl, mix together the parsley, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, aubergine and the yoghurt. Season with extra salt and pepper if you wish (I didn't have to).

Place the butternut on a serving plate, sprinkle with the seed mix and serve with the aubergine sauce.

Enjoy to the fullest!