Monday, October 14, 2013

butternut squash and tahini spread.

Currently there are three different varieties of squash/pumpkin in our kitchen (butternut, acorn, and cheddar pumpkin).  In addition to that I have a plastic container in the fridge filled with homemade pumpkin puree and another container of puree in the freezer.  

I fear that I need a squash intervention because I don't think most city-dwelling 28 year old's who live in minuscule apartments willingly choose to fill their shoe-box sized apartments with a large variety of squashes. 

But then again, I've never been like most 28 year old's.  

In an effort to control and maintain a well-edited collection of squash, I've been scouring my cookbooks for new and innovative ways of using it and this spread is quite possibly one of the best ways.  The best way to describe it is as a hummus where chickpeas are replaced with squash.  The sweet squash pairs beautifully with the creamy tahini and yogurt.  The drizzle of pomegranate molasses brings an intense fruitness to the dish.  I find it utterly addicting especially when scooped up with toasted zatar dusted pita.  

Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

1 large butternut squash, halved (net weight about 2 lb or 970 gr.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ tablespoons (70 gr.) tahini paste
½ cup (120 gr.) Greek yogurt
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds (or just white)
1½ teaspoon date syrup (substitute maple syrup, pomegranate molasses or regular molasses)

Heat the oven to 350F/180C. Place the squash cut-side up on a medium-sized baking tray, pour over olive oil and sprinkle on cinnamon and salt. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft and can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Transfer the cooled squash to the bowl of a food processor, along with the tahini, yogurt and garlic. Roughly pulse so everything is combined into a coarse paste – you don't want it too smooth (you can also do this by hand using a fork or masher).

To serve, spread the butternut over a flat plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds, a drizzle of syrup, and a sprinkle of sea salt. 

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