Roasted Butternut Squash with Sicilian Inspiration

I never liked pumpkins as a child. Pickled pumpkins was served at school lunch nearly every day and occassionally we might have get grated swedes (rutabaga)with raisin or grated carrots – my favourites. This was Finland in the 70’s and already then the world-famous welfare and school systems offered everyone lunch at school. The brain does not work when hungry. For many years I refused to even taste anything with pumpkins until I spent a year in the States. In the early 80’s.The recipes were different and so were the pumpkins. Today I love pumpkins and squash. I do not really know what the difference between a pumpkin and a squash is. Is it the shape or what? Actually, I’ve just googled it and am now wiser.

This recipe is from Etiketten, the customer magazine of Alko (the Finnish state-owned retailer and importer of alcohol, a statutory monopoly ). They havet most delicious recipes and much information on wines and other drinks. They often introduce wine producers throughout the world. I though that it might be Sicilian because of the raisins and nuts.

I have grown to love butternut squash although it is not always easy to find it. Last week when I spotted a huge pile of large squash I just had to buy a few. Then at home I tried this recipe the second time and changed it a bit. In the original you pre-cook the squash while you make the sauce. Then you fill the squash with the sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and cook until golden brown.

1 kg butternut squash, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
400 minced meat
1 large schallot onion, or two small ones
2 cloves of garlic
one sweet belly pepper
1 tbsp tomato puré
1 dl red wine
1 dl yellow raising
1 tsp sugar
black pepper, fresh herbs (leaf parsley, basil)
1 tsp chili powder
1 dl pine nuts
2 dl freshly grated Parmesan

1 Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
2 Halve the squash and de-seed it. Alternativey, cut it into 3 cm thick slices. Rub some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the slices and roast in 180 C for 20 minutes.
3 Prepare the ragu. Chop the onion and garlic and sauté in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until the meat is cooked. Chop the pepper and add to the ragu with the tomato puré, sugar and red wine. Add some bouillon if you like. Let cook for 10 minutes
4 Mix in the herbs, 1 dl Parmesan and pine nuts.
5 Fill the squash with the ragu OR pour the ragu over the squash slices. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook until the cheese melts and becomes golden brown.

20140304-213535.jpg Ready for the oven, not yet golden brown.

20140304-213602.jpg My squash slices ready for the oven.

Alko’s customer magazine http://www.alko.fi/ruoka–juoma/etiketti/ (in Finnish). You might try the Swedish version at http://www.alko.fi/sv/dryck-och-mat/etiketten/ and find that you can read Swedish. I’m sure you can follow if you are a speaker of German, Dutch, Italian or Spanish.

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