Sweet, soft butternut squash with a subtle spicy heat from the chili and packed with porcini, couscous, and herbs.
By Zita Nagy
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, Happy Days with the Naked Chef, this dish is perfect for cold fall or winter days as it warms our heart and soul. It can also be filled with rice and pine nuts. The best part is the rice or couscous cooks in the squash using only the moisture from its flesh.
- 3¼ Pounds (1.5 kg) butternut squash, cut in half lengthways and seeds and fibers scooped out
- 1 small handful dried porcini mushroom
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 3½ Ounces (100 g) couscous
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- ½ handful walnuts, very coarsely chopped
- olive oil
- salt, black pepper to taste
- In a bowl soak the porcini in about 1 cup (200 ml) water for around 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C (392F).
- Using a spoon, score and scoop out some extra flesh from the length of the squash. Finely chop this flesh and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add chopped red onion and garlic.
- Sauté them for a few minutes, then add coriander, chili, rosemary, the chopped butternut squash flesh and the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add the porcini and soaking water, season with salt and black pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the couscous and walnuts, then spoon the mixture tightly into the 2 halves of the squash and press the halves together.
- Rub the skin of the squash with olive oil, wrap it in foil, place in a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 1.5-2 hours or until the squash is tender.