It’s that time of year when squashes are abundant. When the glory days of pumpkins on 31st October are over there’s still the butternut squashes, acorn, onion, gem, spaghetti… I’ve probably had squash three times in the past week, different every time. Whether it’s blitzed for a pasta sauce, roasted with sausages or thinly sliced and fried, I am a fan.
But I’d never made a puree. Ever popular with the Mastercheferati, I thought it was worth a go. I was very pleased with the result, a super-smooth and sweet puree that worked well with the spicy potato wedges and barbecue ribs. If only there had been more of it on the plate…
What I wasn’t so pleased about was the process. I’ve recently had some kitchen disasters, and here’s another one for the collection. I poured the freshly-cooked squash into my Kenwood Prospero blender and whizzed it up until smooth. As I tried to take the jug off the mixer the bottom fell off, pouring hot liquid squash everywhere. Over the mixer, over the counter, over my feet… a real disaster. I like my mixer very much and I get a whole lot of use out of it, but the attachments have proven less than stable over the years. I’m not convinced I’ll replace like-for-like when the time comes.
Butternut squash puree (serves 4):
½ a butternut squash, deseeded, diced and peeled
A pinch of ground cumin
50ml chicken stock
25ml double cream
- Add the squash to a lidded pan with a knob of butter over a medium heat. Add the cumin with salt and pepper and cook for 10 mins stirring often.
- Add the stock and cook for a further 10 mins. Add the cream for the last minute and pour into a blender. Whizz up to a fine puree, adding a dash of boiling water from the kettle if necessary. Check for seasoning and keep warm in the pan until needed.
Here’s a dish perfect for this time of year, but still doesn’t feel like stodge-o-rama thanks to the amount of veg involved. The star ingredient is the sausage, a meaty banger from Simply Sausages. I used their No.1 Recipe Smithfield Original, a relatively unadorned sausage which gives the pork plenty of space for flavour. Mrs. Spud and I thought it was quite simply the best sausage we’ve ever eaten.
The technique is inspired by a similar recipe from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. Essentially process a whole bunch of root veg and fry with bacon and tomatoes as a sauce base! It’s a recipe with lots of room to maneuver, by just swapping the veg in and out you get a different taste each time. And even if you take it easy it should be 20 mins work, tops.
Thanks to Amanda from ZPR for the sausages!
Simply sausage ragu (serves 4):
6 No.1 Recipe Simply Sausages
2 rashers of bacon
2 carrots, trimmed and peeled
1 stick of celery, trimmed
Bunch of sage
1 red onion, peeled
½ butternut squash
2 cloves garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
1 Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pot
Good-quality balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the grill on medium, get a large pan of salted water on to boil and put a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Get your food processor ready too.
- Pop the sausages under the grill and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, turning regularly.
- In the food processor whizz up the bacon and add to the pan. While that fries add the carrots, celery, sage and onion to the food processor, whizz that up and add that to the pan. Finally blitz the squash and add that to the same pan. Add some salt and pepper. Toss the veg regularly.
- While that cooks in the pan, add the pasta to the water and cook according to the packet instructions.
- Crush the garlic into the veg pan, and after a minute or so more’s cooking, add the tin of tomatoes. Half fill the tin with water and add to the pan along with the stock pot. Stir well. If it’s looking a little dry add some of the pasta cooking water to loosen it.
- When the sausages are cooked cut into slices, drain the pasta and toss both through the veg. Check for seasoning and serve, dressing with balsamic vinegar.