This dish for two is easy to make, filling and a great twist on the humble jacket potato. Not that we have anything against good old spuds, but with butternut squash having hardly any fat, packed full of nutrients and practically half the calories, it more or less makes it our new fave vegetable. Even better with this recipe is that the preparation of the usually fiddly butternut is easy as there’s no peeling involved. Simply slice right down the middle, scoop out the seeds and voila – it’s all done. Sounds like a dinner time winner to us.
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 sprig thyme, leaves only, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, 1 minced and the other sliced thinly
- 200g smoked lardons
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, each chopped into 8 quarters
- 80g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 2tbsp fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- A handful of rocket leaves
Pre-heat the oven to 375°C/190°F/Fan 170°C /Gas Mark 5. Take your butternut squash and chop right down the middle. Scoop out each half removing all the seeds and stringy, loose flesh. Combine the oil, thyme and minced garlic and then brush over the flesh of each butternut half. Roast for 35-40 or until the flesh is tender.
Towards the end of the cooking time for the squash, bring a large frying pan to a medium heat. Add in the lardons and gently fry for 4-6 minutes, using the fat from the lardons as you cook, until the meat starts to go brown. Scoop the lardons into a bowl, set aside, and using the fat left in the pan, add the sliced garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often until the garlic has softened but doesn’t colour. Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have browned – about five minutes. Add the cooked lardons, toss together, and turn off the heat, setting aside.
Pre-heat your grill to a medium heat. Arrange the butternut squash onto a baking tray lined with foil and fill each with the mushroom mixture, top with the grated cheese, and pop under the grill until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve, scattered with parsley and rocket.
Mushrooms are like little tasty sponges due to the fact that they soak up water easily. When preparing them, try to only give them a quick rinse under a tap to clean them instead of immersing them in water. That way, you can avoid them being soggy when sautéed.