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.
Zita's love for cookbooks and delicious food started at the age of 9. Whenever she went home from school her little brother and she would wait for mom to make dinner for them. Until the dinner was ready, she was turning the pages back and forth and was staring at photographs of amazingly looking dishes in mom's cookbooks to kill her appetite somehow. She couldn't have known then, that she would be collecting cookbooks after reaching adulthood and would still be, just like in her childhood, staring at awesome photos of delicious dishes. The only difference is that she does the cooking now. She loves traveling, going to the organic market and browsing foodblogs. Her vegetarian food and travelblog is Zizi's Adventures.