This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs, where we continue our journey with the wildly inspirational Yotam Ottolenghi, we're cooking squash. There were so many recipes that I wanted to try this week - I've been hanging out to make the Turkey & Zucchini Burgers, served up by Michelle at Ms. enPlace; this Zucchini & Hazelnut Salad made by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen is one that I've had bookmarked for ages; and this dish of Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime & Chilli that Mairi at Toast produced also took my fancy (Mairi and I seem to have pretty much matching tastebuds, so when she tells me "it's another winner from Ottolenghi" I know it's going to be good). In the end, however, even though I really wanted to do something with the last of the season's zucchini, it was the butternut squash taking up real estate in my vege drawer that won out, and this Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread was one that I'd had bookmarked ever since I purchased my copy of Jerusalem.
Until now, hummus has pretty much always been my go-to recipe when something "spreadable" is called for to go with a platter full of nibbly things, but I can definitely see this spread making an appearance on a regular basis in the future. The sweetness of the butternut, combined with the warmth of the cinnamon and garlic, the earthiness of the tahini, topped off with the fragrant intensity of the date syrup makes for a pretty exotic taste explosion. In the introduction to the recipe, Ottolenghi says, "This dip seems to be fantastically popular with anyone who tries it", and I can see why. By the way, if you can't get hold of the date syrup to drizzle over at the end, don't worry - this is still fantastic without it.
Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
1 large butternut squash, peeled & cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup Greek-style natural yoghurt
2x cloves garlic, crushed
black sesame seeds
white sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).
Spread the butternut out in a single layer in a roasting dish. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle over the cinnamon and a generous pinch of flaky sea salt. Toss to make sure all the butternut is well coated.
Cover the dish with tin foil and bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes, turning once or twice during that time. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and leave to cool.
Put the cooled butternut into a food processor. Add the tahini, yoghurt and garlic, and blitz until you achieve a coarse paste. The spread should retain a bit of texture and not be completely smooth.
Put the spread into a serving dish or on a platter. Sprinkle over the black and white sesame seeds - about 1/2 teaspoon or so of each - and drizzle over the date syrup (this has quite an intense flavour, so don't go nuts with it - about a teaspoon will be plenty).
Serve as an appetiser with some bread.
If you would like to get to know Yotam Ottolenghi a little better, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all cooked up ...
... or check out Jerusalem and Ottolenghi's other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK or Fishpond NZ.
I will also be sharing this post at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely Michelle at Ms. enPlace.