Spaghetti with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Broad Beans

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Butternut squash is a wonderfully versatile vegetable, especially tasty if you have vegetarian friends to dinner. Here is a simple and economical supper for family or friends to enjoy.

Dawn: Mmm! Butternut squash! Last seen here being roasted at Christmas.

Andrew: Here it is steamed to soften it up, then sautéed with the other vegetables.

Dawn: Steaming is a way of preserving all the vitamins in vegetables, which are so often just boiled away.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-1.5cm cubes

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 chilli (optional) deseeded and finely chopped

1 tsp of basil, oregano or herbes de Provence

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced

100g mushrooms of your choice, sliced

200g frozen broad beans, defrosted

75 g spaghetti per person

1 tbsp ricotta, cream cheese or creme-fraiche

Olive oil for cooking

Salt and pepper to season

Andrew: It is possible to buy the butternut squash already prepared.

Dawn: However, it is more economical to do it yourself. Hard work if you don’t have a good peeler, but well worth it for the texture and taste.

Method

  • Steam the squash for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a fan steamer, a colander over a pan of simmering water, covered with a lid, will do just as well.
  • Allow the squash to cool otherwise it may burn of catch in the pan.
  • Put on a pan of water to boil, then add salt , and cook your spaghetti according to instructions while you cook the vegetables.
  • In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil on a medium heat, and fry the onion gently until it begins to turn transparent.
  • Add the garlic,chilli and herbs and allow the flavour to permeate the pan by moving them around. Don’t let the garlic burn.
  • Next the squash can be added keeping it moving so the cubes colour on each side.
  • Add the pepper and cook for a further couple of minutes so that it softens.
  • Now the broad beans may be added, squeezed out of their outer skins for a more jewel like quality or left for a bit more bite.
  • Allow to heat through, then add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and golden to your taste.
  • Drain the cooked spaghetti, then add to the pan with the cooked vegetables and stir well.
  • Finally mix in the cheese or creme-fraiche and serve.

Dawn: What was the cost of this per portion?

Andrew: Just over £1.50 each I believe. Of course you can substitute other vegetables too.

Dawn: Economy and seasonality! Two of our buzz words!

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Roast Butternut Squash and Rosemary Soup

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Here’s a lovely and tasty, low cost soup to snuggle up with – costs pence to make and once you start making your own, you’ll really taste the difference between gorgeous homemade soups and those that are shop bought, mass produced ones.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 medium sized butternut squash (thoroughly washed)

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

1.2 l of vegetable stock

1 tsp of dried rosemary

Salt and pepper to season

Dawn: What I love about this recipe is that by roasting the butternut squash prior to adding, the final taste when eating the soup gives an almost ‘toffee caramel’ taste. 

Andrew: And just to point out that the butternut squash doesn’t need to be roasted beforehand as it can be peeled, de-seeded and cut into small chunks to add when required. 

Dawn: That’s right, Andrew and all you need do is keep checking the squash is cooked by pressing a fork into it: when the fork goes in all the way, the squash is cooked. I do like to leave the outer skin on though and roast it before making this soup – it really adds to the taste. Remove the wee ‘knot’ of the stalk, beforehand, obviously. 

Andrew: How do we start this Winter Wonder, Dawn? 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200 °C electric.
  • Cut the washed butternut squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and pulp surrounding them. Score with a sharp knife, diagonal lines and criss-cross the length of the squash. Place on a non-stick baking tray and place in the centre of the oven.

Dawn: Scoring the flesh of the squash before placing it in the oven makes it easier for the baking to add to the roasting effect, giving the heat rough edges to cling onto and so adding to the toffee caramel taste I simply adore! 

  • Cook until the squash starts to acquire a chargrilled roasted look to the cut parts. This will take approximately 45-60 minutes to achieve.
  • When the butternut squash has cooked, put the dried rosemary into a medium sized saucepan and toast for 2-3 minutes until the rosemary has started to release its sweet aromas.
  • Add the chopped onion and a little warm water. Cook for about approximately 5-10 minutes until softened and starting to become transparent-looking.
  • Tear the butternut squash up into smaller chunks and add to the onion along with the vegetable stock. Bring the ingredients to the boil and then cover, simmer for 20 minutes.
  • With an electric handheld blender, pulp the ingredients until they have combined to form a thick gooey consistency. Add the salt and pepper to personal preference.
  • Serve in warmed bowls on its own or with a mixed green salad.

Dawn: Butternut squash is a marvellous source of betacarotene which helps to protect against heart disease and cancer. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, calcium and pitassium.

Andrew: WOW! A real “super food”, Dawn! And in this instance, cooking with the skin on retains a lot of the goodness, too. 

For more easy-to-make recipes and cooking tips, follow the Cooking Duo’s blog here and the Twitter feed over @Love_Food_UK