Roast acorn squash on herbed white bean mash with chilli, mint and pistachio butter.

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This recipe was originally written for Town & Country UK. You can also find it here.

I adore squash season. There are so many varieties and colours. I usually buy a whole basket of different types and keep them in a large bowl in my kitchen as an autumnal centre-piece. They look fabulous and last a while too. One of my favourites is acorn squash. Usually dark green in skin it has a bright yellowy flesh that when roasted, becomes sweet and nutty and it caramelises beautifully. This is a wonderful dinner party dish that doubles up as delicious leftovers too. The white bean mash is zesty and flavourful using three types of herbs. You could also enjoy it as a dip or even spread on toast. But it is the butter that crowns this dish. I am generous with the pistachios and it makes all the difference marrying with the mint and chilli to give you a rich, crunchy, buttery finish.

Ingredients

  • 2 small acorn squash (or 1 larger one)

  • olive oil

  • 230g dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill

  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  • juice of half a lemon

  • salt and pepper

For the butter

  • 40g unsalted butter

  • ½ tsp chilli flakes

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 30g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp mint leaves, finely chopped

Method

  • Drain your soaked cannellini beans and place them in a large saucepan. Cover them with a large amount of water. Add your bay leaves and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil before reducing to a gentle simmer. Cook for 1 – 1.5 hours. (Cooking time will depend on your beans. Check them after an hour).

  • When your beans are cooked, drain them over a bowl reserving the cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaves and allow your beans to cool slightly.

  • Crush just one of your cloves of garlic and place this in a blender or food processor. Add your beans, chopped herbs, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of the reserved bean cooking liquid, a good pinch of salt and a good glug of olive oil. 

  • Blend and check for seasoning, adding more lemon, salt or oil as you like. If it is too thick continue to add some of the bean cooking liquid.

  • Preheat your oven to 200° fan setting. Halve your squash and scoop out the seeds (see note). Cutting along it’s natural ridges slice your squash into wedges.

  • Place the squash wedges onto a tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season well with salt. Use your hands to toss everything together. Cook for 40 mins until the squash has cooked through and is slightly caramelised. Turn the pieces every 15 mins or so to ensure they get an even roast.

  • To make the chilli, mint, pistachio butter heat a small saucepan over a low to medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Crush your remaining garlic clove and add this to the oil. Cook until softened and fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).

  • Stir in your chilli flakes and salt. Add your butter and allow it to melt, stirring gently.

  • Once the butter has melted add your chopped pistachios and continue to stir for another minute or so. Taste for seasoning. You may need to adjust the temperature to ensure the butter does not burn.  Switch off the heat. Stir though your chopped mint. 

  • To serve spoon the bean puree onto a large serving plate. Arrange the roasted squash on top. Spoon over the chilli , mint, pistachio butter and finish with a pinch of flakey sea salt.

Note – Rather than discarding your squash seeds give them a rinse and remove as much pulp as you can. Allow them to dry slightly on a clean dishcloth. Preheat your oven to 180° fan setting. Place dry seeds in a small bowl and combine with ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp chilli flakes, a good pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir and spread over a parchment lined tray. Roast for about 30-40 mins until crunchy. Enjoy sprinkled onto salads, soup or as a snack.

Alexandra Dudley