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Roasted squash (Zucca al forno)
With a spicy chilli, sage and cinnamon kick
“Enjoy this Italian-style roasted butternut squash as a side dish or chuck into salad, pasta or soup ”
Over the years I’ve seen roasted squash cooked in many ways and I’ve got to say this particular way is one of my favourites. Even though it’s very Tuscan in style, the flavours remind me of English chutney recipes that I’ve come across in old cookbooks. When roasted like this, the squash is wonderful eaten as part of an antipasti plate, or in soups, or tossed with pasta, or with meat. Other types of squash that are great for roasting are onion squash (which has a dense orange skin) and acorn squash (which has an orangey-grey skin and is a bit more squashed than round). Ask your local fruit and veg man for guidance if you’re not sure.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Halve the butternut squash, remove and reserve the seeds, then cut the squash into slices or chunks with the skin left on. Using a pestle and mortar, or a metal bowl with a rolling pin, bash up the dried red chilli with a good pinch of salt. Add the whole sage leaves, the pieces of cinnamon and enough olive oil to loosen the mixture, and rub the whole lot over all the squash pieces so they are well covered.
Place the squash in one layer in a roasting tray and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the seeds, cover tightly with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the skin of the squash is soft, then remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes until the squash is golden and crisp. Remove the cinnamon and tuck in!