October 31, 2018 10:47:15 AM
Most of the time, I end up putting my energy into the main course. You, too, right? The side dishes then have a tiered level of time and effort afforded to each of them, often ending with something exciting like "rice."
But sometimes it just makes sense to flip that paradigm on its head, keep the main dish undemanding and uncomplicated, and show the side dishes some love.
Pick an entree that can be tossed into the oven and then -- other than the setting of a timer and maybe an occasional basting -- be ignored. A roast chicken, a filet, a leg of lamb. Then get started on this sexy side dish.
In a way, this recipe is about lavishing attention on the details. Making roasted squash is just a matter of cubing squash (which can easily be bought peeled and seeded), tossing it with some oil and salt, and letting it do its thing in the oven.
Once the oven door is closed, you'll spend a few minutes pureeing several green and flavorful ingredients in a blender or food processor for a verdant salsa verde, washing the bowl, then pureeing some ricotta and feta for a creamy finish. By the time the vegetables (and the roast) are ready to come out of the oven, you've got your squash accessories ready to go.
Add salt with a light hand here as several of the ingredients -- feta, capers and anchovies -- have a lot of salt already. You can always give the finished dish an extra sprinkle of salt if you think it's needed.
You can let the squash cool to room temperature, or serve it warm. The salsa verde will keep in the fridge for up to three days. The ricotta and feta mixture will keep for up to five days.
So is this dish a little fussy? Yes. But, man, is it worth it.
ROASTED SQUASH WITH SALSA VERDE AND WHIPPED FETA AND RICOTTA
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 butternut squash (about 3 pounds total), peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Scallion salsa verde:
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 anchovies, rinsed
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Whippped ricotta and feta:
1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
Kosher salt to taste, if needed
Nutrition information per serving: 358 calories; 249 calories from fat; 28 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 247 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 7 g protein.