This vegetarian meal is one of the best I have ever tasted, I usually still crave meat after eating a veggie meal but this one hit the spot. The beautiful flavours from the sun-dried tomatoes go so well with the ricotta and balsamic crema. This dish does take some time to cook, as butternut takes for ever to roast, but the results are SO worth it.
1 medium-large butternut squash
1 packett baby spinach leaves
7 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
7 calamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 red chillies, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
100 g ricotta
Sea salt & black pepper
1/2 tsp sunflower seeds, roasted
1/2 tsp pumpkin seed, roasted
1/2 tsp sesame seeds, roasted
Fresh basil for garnish
Preparation 40 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 240°C.
Halve the butternut, scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh so that enough filling can be spooned in.
Arrange the two halves on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt and cook for 40 minutes. Place all the seeds in a small oven tray and roast for 3 minutes with the butternut, keep a close eye on them. Set aside for later.
While the butternut is roasting, place a nonstick frying pan on high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the chopped onions, garlic and chilli for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped olives and fry for a further minute. Set aside. Then roughly chop the baby spinach and the sun-dried tomatoes. Place the fried ingredients into a glass bowl with the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Once the butternut has been cooking for 40 minutes, take out the oven and test if is cooked through.
Then evenly distribute the filling between the two halves. Top with ricotta and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take out the oven and top with the toasted seeds and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Once cooked through, drizzle with balsamic crema and top with fresh basil, serve immediately.