Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoky Eggplant & Basil

There is a magical time of year when two of my favorite vegetables are at their peak. They are an unlikely duo… sweet summer eggplant, and comforting winter squash. While flipping through one of my favorite chef’s cookbooks I came across a recipe that combined the two, and I thought it a bizarre pairing. It piqued my interest though, and after trying it my belief that Ottolenghi is a culinary genius was further affirmed. Now when I head to the market and see the last of the eggplant being sold next to the new crop of winter squash, it seems perfectly natural that they should be used together. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly. You will find it perfectly delicious.

 

Butternut Squash

Cut the peeled and seeded squash into wedges.

Eggplant

Roast the eggplant under the broiler until blackened.

 

Eggplant spread

You can use a food processor to get the eggplant extra creamy, or vigorously stir with a spoon for a more rustic texture.

Roasted squash

The squash is cooked through but not mushy.

Plated eggplant spread and squash

Lay the cooked squash right over the eggplant.

 

Make Ahead Healthy Dinner Party

Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoky Eggplant & Basil

Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 glove garlic grated or finely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Peel the skin using a vegetable peeler, and cut the squash into wedges about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick (no need to be super precise). Place on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, about ½ teaspoon of salt, the allspice and freshly cracked black pepper. Roast about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and toss with the maple syrup. Return to the oven and cook another 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Prick the eggplant with a knife in a few spots (this will keep it from exploding in the oven by allowing the steam to escape). Place on a foil lined baking sheet and turn the oven to broil. Place under the broiler, 10 inches or more from the heat, and cook, turning every 5 minutes or so, until it is fully charred and very soft. Remove from the oven and wrap the foil around the eggplant and let cool.
  • Turn the oven down to 325. Place all the seeds on a baking pan and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  • When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplant, or scoop out the flesh leaving the burnt skin behind. Chop coarsely, then place in a bowl and add the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Stir well to combine, and add about ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed (I find that eggplant usually needs to be very well salted).
  • Smear the eggplant on the bottom of a wide, shallow serving bowl. Arrange the squash on top. Scatter the seeds and the basil over the squash and serve at room temperature.

Tips & Tricks

I've made this recently and didn't have all the nuts and seeds in my pantry that the recipe calls for. I had some marcona almonds, and they worked beautifully. You can use what is called for, or a combination of them or different nuts alltogether. Pistacios, hazelnuts, walnuts, or cashews would all work well.

 

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