Roasted pumpkin is a must-have dish in Winter, and we use butternut pretty much in our kitchen. Jap is another pumpkin we like, but its availability has decreased over the last few years. Red pumpkin used to be available from a few specialty shops but sadly those have closed now.
Roasting or baking vegetables with spices always attracts our attention – we tend to do the same thing. So when Ottolenghi includes cardamom and one of his favourite seeds/spices, Nigella, we are captured. The recipe is easy and no-fuss, compared to many of his other recipes, so this is perfect for a pretty lazy Saturday morning at our place. Mid winter, the weather is sunny, but we don’t feel like rousing ourselves too much today, instead, laying around reading and listening to music. Lazily, I turn the oven on and bake the pumpkin.
I’ve been interested about why we have 2 words for cooking in the oven that seem to mean the same thing – baked and roasted. It seems that roasting used to be for food cooked over open flames with radiant heat from one direction (the bottom or the side), and baking was done in a closed apparatus (an oven). Times have changed, and most oven makers now admit that their baking settings and roasting settings are exactly the same. Some people put artificial restrictions on both – roast refers to meat and vegetables, bake to everything else, or roast to meat, bake everything else – it seems they are entirely the same processes, and that roasted vegetables and baked vegetables, given the same pre-oven treatment, are exactly the same. Phew. Glad I solved that one.
By roasting the butternut with Indian spices and some stock, it properly soaks up the flavours and ends up tasting marvellous.
As mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse all of our Butternut dishes and some of our Roasted recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Roasted Butternut with Spices and Nigella Seeds
20g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 1cm-thick slices
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
30g pumpkin seeds
1 tspn nigella seeds, plus extra to garnish
½ tspn each ground cumin and coriander
¼ tspn ground turmeric
4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 green chilli, halved lengthways
1 Tblspn caster sugar
200ml vegetable stock or water
100g Greek yoghurt
1 Tblspn chopped fresh coriander
Heat the oven to 200C. Put the butter and oil in a large sauté pan, and fry the onion for eight minutes over medium heat until soft. Add the butternut, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to colour.
Remove from the heat and add half a teaspoon of salt, the seeds, spices, chilli and sugar. Mix and transfer to an ovenproof dish large enough to hold everything snugly. Pour in the stock and roast for 30 minutes, by which point the butternut should be tender and all the liquid absorbed or evaporated.
Serve warm with yoghurt spooned on top, a sprinkling of chopped coriander and a few nigella seeds.