My local town now has a new greengrocer shop. It's been years since there's been a proper greengrocer selling local seasonal, and slightly more exotic vegetables than the nearby supermarkets! And it's a place I'm definitely glad to support. It now means I can find different varieties of vegetables without having to to order them online such as these delicious varieties of winter squash.
There's an abundance of them now and endless opportunities for delicious soups, casseroles or salads. These squash are stuffed with wild mushrooms, pancetta, curly kale and quinoa and make a hearty lunch when the weather beckons you inside.
2 seasonal squash (I used winter buttercup and harlequin squash)
250ml boiling water
100g wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large mushroom, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 large sprig rosemary
Small bunch thyme
1 pack pancetta (roughly 100g)
Salt and pepper
75g cashew nuts
1 large handful curly kale
Small knob of butter
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan.)
Wash your squash and cut the top of each to reveal the inner cavity. Scrape out the seeds and soft stringy flesh and then drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast on a lined baking tray with the tops in the preheated oven for 35 minutes until slightly browned and softened.
Rinse the seeds and separate them from the rest of the flesh. Roast the squash seeds on a baking tray on another shelf in the oven for the last 15-20 minutes of roasting time.
Meanwhile add the quinoa to a small saucepan along with a little salt and the boiling water.
Put the saucepan on a medium heat and simmer with a lid on for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the water has been absorbed. Then remove from the heat and leave the quinoa to stand with the lid on for 5-10 minutes.
Whilst the quinoa is cooking and the squash is roasting, add your pancetta pieces to a large frying pan on a high heat. Fry until they begin to brown and then add 2 crushed garlic cloves and the rosemary and thyme, finely chopped. Fry these off for a minute and then add a good glug of olive oil and all the mushrooms.
Season well with pepper , add a small knob of salted butter and fry for 5-8 minutes until golden. Add the cashew nuts and ensure that they are coated in the oil and flavours from the mushroom mix.
Add in a large handful of curly kale along with 3 tbsp cold water. ( The water will help to cook the kale quickly by steaming it. )
Once the kale has wilted remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Stir the mushroom and kale mix with the quinoa and then fill the cavities of the roasted squash with the mixture.
Grate over a little fresh parmesan and put back in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the cheese is molten and gooey.