Roasted Butternut Squash with Yogurt
and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
I roast thick slices of butternut squash until they caramelize a bit on the bottom, then serve them browned side up. A generous drizzle of tangy yogurt balances their natural sweetness, while toasted pumpkin seeds add crunch. Kabocha squash, with its dense, creamy flesh, is another good choice but its hard rind and rounded shape make it more challenging to peel. Serve the squash with rice or bulgur pilaf, or pair with pork chops or sausages. To make a more substantial dish, remove some Mexican-style chorizo from its casing, brown in a skillet, and spoon over the top. From Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Janet Fletcher (Ten Speed Press).
- 1 butternut squash with a long, straight neck, about 3 pounds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 small clove garlic, grated or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons toasted and salted pumpkin seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- Medium-hot coarse red pepper, such as Maraş or Aleppo pepper or hot paprika
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
With a cleaver or heavy chef’s knife, slice off the stem end of the squash. Cut the squash crosswise at the point where the straight neck connects to the bulbous base, where the seed cavity is. Reserve the base for soup or another use.
Set the neck on a work surface, stem end up, and peel with a cleaver or chef’s knife by slicing from top to bottom all the way around the squash. Remove all traces of skin and any greenish flesh under the skin. Cut the pared neck in half lengthwise, then slice each half into half-moons, each about 1/2 inch wide. Put the sliced squash in a bowl and add enough olive oil to coat the slices lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat the squash with the oil and distribute the seasonings. Arrange the squash slices on the baking sheet. Bake until tender and beginning to caramelize on the bottom, about 45 minutes.
While the squash roasts, in a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, garlic, and salt to taste. Keep the garlic flavor subtle; you may not need the entire clove.
With a spatula, carefully transfer the squash slices to a serving platter, flipping them so the caramelized bottom side is up. Spoon the yogurt over the top. Garnish with pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and a few shakes of red pepper.
Serves 4 to 6