Roast butternut with Serrano ham and a Manchego crumble

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

I realise that this is my second butternut post in a few weeks but I do love this very versatile and delicious vegetable.  Also in times of lockdown and trying to go out to the shops as seldom as possible, it is the best thing to have around as it lasts for weeks or even months if kept in a cool and dry environment, not the refrigerator though, that is too cold.  Simply buy a few and place in a cool area and you will have it ready to go whenever you need some.  When you buy your butternut be sure to choose a nice firm one with smooth skin and no blemishes.  Did you know that its name comes from its melting texture that leaves a little taste of butter on your palate?  Or that it is very low in calories as it is high in water content (95%); so no need to feel guilty after eating it.  It has a delicious subtle taste, almost a cross between sweet potato and a chestnut, thereby allowing to be used perfectly in both sweet and savoury dishes.  One usually peels a butternut but in certain recipes, the skin may even be left on as it is in fact perfectly edible.  Versatile as well, can be eaten in soups, purees, roasted, sauteed, hot or cold. The perfect vegetable in fact.

This recipe works very well as a lunch dish or light dinner. Very quick to prepare too.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash
6 to 8 slices of Serrano ham or Parma ham
120g / 4oz button mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
for the crumble:
50g / ¼ cup manchego cheese (can use Parmesan)
3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into little cubes
50g / 2oz flour

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 180C/360F
Cut the butternut into 2 lengthwise, remove the seeds and drizzle with olive oil
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes
In the meantime, cut the mushrooms into slices
In a sauté pan, melt the butter and cook the mushrooms until golden, add salt & pepper
For the crumble: grate the cheese, add it to the butter and flour
With your fingers rub the mixture together until it forms little pea sized bits of dough
Spread the crumble mixture onto a small baking sheet and place in the oven with the butternut for the last 12 to 15 minutes
Remove the butternut once cooked, add the mushrooms evenly divided between the four halves
Place 1 to 2 slices of Serrano ham and sprinkle on the crumble
Serve hot with a small side salad
Bon Appetit!

Baked pasta with sausage, sage and butternut

Tags

, , , , , , ,

IMG_5736

This dish is pure comfort food at its very best. It combines all of my favorite comfort foods, pasta, bechamel sauce, sausages and cheese and is cooked like a gratin thereby giving a delicious crusty, cheesy topping. What more could you want? It is inspired from a northern Italian recipe. In the original version, large pasta shells or conchiglioni are used and the sausage stuffing in placed in the shells but if you cannot get hold of them, feel free to use any large pasta such as penne, cavatappi, fusilli, rigatoni or even rotini.

IMG_5724 IMG_5725 IMG_5726 IMG_5727 IMG_5728 IMG_5729 IMG_5730 IMG_5731 IMG_5732 IMG_5733 IMG_5734 IMG_5735

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds discarded, chopped into small cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
10 sage leaves, chopped
6 pork sausages (I used Toulouse sausages)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
350g / 12oz pasta
50g / 2oz butter
50g / 2oz plain flour
850ml / 1 ½ pints milk
50g / 2oz parmesan, grated
100g / 4oz grated cheese (emmental, mozzarella mix)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F
Place the butternut in a saucepan with a little water and cook for about 10 minutes until soft
Heat the oil in a frying pan
Add the sage leaves and sizzle for about 1 minute
Remove the sausages from their skins and divide into small balls about the size of a marble or hazelnut
Add the sausage balls to the pan and fry until golden brown
Add half the butternut to the sausage mixture and set aside
Mash the remaining butternut with the nutmeg and any liquid in the pan
Cook the pasta according to package instructions
Melt the butter in a saucepan
Add the flour and stir, cook for 1 to 2 minutes
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium low heat until you have a smooth, thick sauce
Add the mashed butternut, parmesan and seasoning
Spread the sauce and butternut mixture on the bottom of a large, shallow baking dish
Drain the pasta
Place the pasta on top of the sauce
Pour the sausage and sage mixture over the pasta
Scatter the grated cheeses over all
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown
Enjoy!

Lamb shank curry soup

Tags

, , , , , ,

This is a very hearty and tasty soup which is made extra special as it is hidden under a blanket of crispy, fluffy and buttery puff pastry with just the shank bone peeking out. The smell of the spices when you break the crust is simply amazing. This is a recipe that lends itself very well to you playing around with the quantities to suit your taste, more curry, less curry, more liquid or more stewlike.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
4 lamb shanks
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder (depends on your preference-I use 2)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm / 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1¼ L / 5 cups good beef stock (homemade is best)
1 lemon cut in half
1 large apple, peeled and sliced (granny smith works well)
700g / 1½ lbs baby potatoes, quartered
2 rolls of ready puff pastry
Fresh cilantro/coriander roughly chopped
1 beaten egg

Method:
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F
Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large ovenproof dish with a lid
Add the lamb and brown the shanks on all sides
Place the lamb on a plate
Reduce the heat to medium low
Add curry powder and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes
Add oil, onion, leeks, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 minutes
Add the thyme, rosemary, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, beef stock, lemon and apple and stir well
Return the lamb to the dish and bring to a boil
Cover with a lid and place the dish in the oven for 2 hours
Add the potatoes and check if enough liquid – you can add a bit of hot stock if needed
Cover and return to the oven for another 45 to 60 minutes
Remove dish from oven and increase the temperature to 200C/400F
Portion the soup into 4 ovenproof large soup bowls discarding the lemon and place 1 shank in each with the bone sticking up
Sprinkle on some fresh cilantro
Unroll your puff pastry and cut out 4 circles a bit larger than the tops of your bowls
Brush some beaten egg on the rim of your bowls and place the pastry over the bowl allowing the bone to poke through the top
Press with your fingers on the edge of the pastry to help the pastry stick to the bowl and seal the edges
Brush the tops with the remaining egg
Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden
Serve immediately
Bon appétit !