Roasted Butternut Squash with Pancetta and Rosemary

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I held a Supper Club dinner at our apartment, hosting five of our friends. It was such a huge success that we’re already making plans for the next one!

My strategy for the dinner was to keep it simple: focus on local, seasonal produce, and just highlight how delicious it inherently is. One of the more popular items I served was butternut squash, which is in season right now in Ontario. The recipe is an old favourite of mine, because everyone who’s tried it is impressed. While I’d love to take 100% of the credit for the idea, it’s a recipe I adapted from the cookbook Nature, by Alain Ducasse (so obviously, it’s going to be amazing!).

This dish would be delicious served alongside roast chicken, pork tenderloin, ham, or steak. It would also be delicious with turkey, and, isn’t Thanksgiving’s coming up? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Make this for your family, and bask in their praise! I don’t mind if you take all the credit. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pancetta and Rosemary

Serves 4

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Ingredients

1 kg. / 2 ¼ lbs. butternut squash
1 teaspoon canola or grape seed oil
100g. / 3.5 oz. pancetta
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled but crushed
1 sprig rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt
Small handful (about 50 g / 2 oz.) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Freshly ground black pepper
30 g. / 1 oz. pecorino or parmesan cheese

Method

Peel and cut the squash into cubes.

Preheat your oven to 450⁰F.

Cut the pancetta into small lardons or sticks, about 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm x 2 cm.

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large, oven-proof pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta has rendered most of its fat and has browned slightly.

Add the cubes of squash, garlic, rosemary, and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss to combine.

Cover with a piece of parchment and put in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

Remove the parchment paper and lower the oven to 350⁰F. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.

In the meantime, place a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook, tossing frequently, until they’re slightly browned and smell toasted. Set aside.

When the squash is cooked, remove the pot from the oven, and turn on the broiler. Remove the rosemary stem and the skins from the garlic, and discard.

Mash the squash and garlic with a fork, and season the mixture to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top. With a peeler, shave the cheese evenly over the squash.

Place under the broiler for 2 minutes to melt and lightly brown the cheese.

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