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Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar

(recipe, Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi)


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Introduction

This is a highly versatile dish that is quite simple to prepare but boasts some very substantial flavors. It is ideal as a starter, a vegetarian main course, or as a side dish to serve with a simple main course such as lamb shawarma or chicken sofrito, minus the potatoes. The tahini sauce is quite dominant. Although we love this, you may want to use a little less of it when finishing the dish. Just taste it and decide.

Ingredients

  1. 1 large butternut squash (2¼ lbs.) cut into ¾-by-2½-inch wedges
  2. 2 red onions, cut into 1¼-inch wedges
  3. 3½ Tbsp. olive oil
  4. 3½ Tbsp. light tahini paste
  5. 1½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  6. 2 Tbsp. water
  7. 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  8. 3½ Tbsp. pine nuts
  9. 1 Tbsp. za'atar
  10. 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  11. Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper, and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions, as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
  4. Pour the remaining olive oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts, along with ½ teaspoon of salt, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
  5. To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za'atar and parsley.