Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Sides: Roasted Squash with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Mint

My 'American mom' Denise introduced me to butternut squash in 1998. Since then, every winter, from the first time I see the vegetable in the market, I must have it at home often. It's a great side to work with and soaks in flavors. Denise used to poke holes into the squash and microwave it for 8 minutes, she would then let it cool, slice it open, scoop the seeds out and mash it with butter, salt and pepper. I still enjoy it like that, but I have begun to prefer it roasted– with salt and pepper, with Vadouvan spice mix, or any strong or mild spice mix or herb. 

It was wiped clean this year at Thanksgiving dinner. Makes me want some more again as I write this blog!  
This recipe is from Bon Appetit, and the only addition / tweak I made was the addition of red chili powder to work with my guests at Thanksgiving dinner.

2 medium butternut squash (about 3lb. total)
4 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp red chili powder
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh mint, torn


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Cut squash into 1.5-inch thick wedges, leaving skin on. Scrape off seeds and strings with a large spoon and discard. Coat wedges with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and chili powder. Lay wedges cut side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, carefully turning halfway through, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds to cook, swirling pan often, until seeds are puffed and brown but still have a bit of green, 4–5 minutes. Transfer seeds to a plate. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Transfer squash to a large platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with torn mint leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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