I was jumping for joy the other day when my long awaited cookbook, Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi, arrived in the mail a day earlier than expected. He is after all my favorite chef and culinary guru. Jerusalem is a beautiful book with gorgeous photos and inspiring dishes that renew my enthusiasm to cook. Unlike his previous cookbook Plenty, Jerusalem is not strictly vegetarian. This butternut squash and tahini spread is seasonal, healthful, and, best of all, easy to make. It's smooth and creamy; a nice alternative to hummus. Spread it on a cracker, slice of bread, or serve it as part of a meze as suggested by the author.
Author: Yotam Ottolenghi from his book Jerusalem
- 2-1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (7 cups)
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 5 T. light tahini paste
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 t. mixed black and white sesame seeds
- 1-1/2 t. date syrup (see note)
- 2 t. chopped cilantro (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Spread the squash out in a medium roasting pan
- Pour over the olive oil and sprinkle with the cinnamon and salt.
- Mix well, cover the pan with foil and roast in the oven for 40-70 minutes, or until soft
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool
- Transfer the squash to a food processor, along with the tahini, yogurt, and garlic
- Roughly pulse to a coarse paste without the spread becoming smooth.
- You can also do this by hand with a fork or potato masher
- Taste for salt
- Spread over a flat plate in a wavy pattern and sprinkle with the sesame seeds
- Drizzle the date syrup over the spread and finish with cilantro, if using
Date syrup adds a unique intensity to this spread but may be difficult to find. Check Whole Foods, health food stores, or Middle Eastern groceries. If you cannot find it, maple syrup can be substituted.
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