Squash and Nut Roast with Ricotta and Spinach
5 - 6 people
600 g butternut squash
100 g shelled pistachio nuts
100 g pumpkin seeds
100 g cooked chestnuts
4 dessert spoons vegetable oil
2 dessert spoons mild maple syrup
Grated skin of an organic, un-waxed lemon
½ teaspoon dried thyme
A few twists of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon powdered fenugreek
400 g spinach
1 dried Thai red chilli
500 g ricotta
Juice from the organic lemon
Pecorino cheese to top
Start by pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. While it is heating, peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and stringy bits around them then slice into fingers and place in a bowl. Add a dessert spoon of olive oil and a twist of salt and pepper, mix thoroughly then place on a baking tray. When the oven has reached its temperature, add the squash and roast for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, get a large frying or saucepan on a medium heat. When hot, add the pumpkin seeds and pistachios and toast for a good 6 – 8 minutes stirring constantly, then leave to cool. Continue by adding the cooked chestnuts to a blender, then add the remaining oil, maple syrup, lemon zest (grated skin), thyme and a few twists of salt and pepper. Once the Squash is finished, leave to cool for 10 minutes before adding to the blender, then whizz everything into a fine mix. Then use a little oil to coat a tart or cake tin and then transfer the mix to it. Use two spoons to spread and press the mixture around the tin making sure you press up the sides to make edges. When done, add to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until you have browned the top.
In the meantime, add the ricotta to a bowl then mix in the lemon juice and a twist of salt and pepper. Chop the chilli and add this before heating a large saucepan full of water. When it comes to the boil, add the spinach, stir thoroughly then drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Leave for 10 minutes then use your hands to press out as much water as you can, then place on a chopping board and chop finely before adding to the ricotta and mixing. When the base is done and brown, add the ricotta mix to the top and spread across evenly using a spoon. Return to the oven for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with slices or grated pecorino cheese.