This recipe grew out of a deep desire for twice baked potatoes and a bit of my own laziness. I scoured my kitchen to find the few russet potatoes I thought were lingering in my pantry, but instead all I found was a butternut squash on its last leg. Quickly, I changed direction and decided, well, if we can bake a potato twice, we can certainly bake a squash twice!
When it came to breaking down the squash, laziness prevailed yet again and instead of getting fancy with the seeds, I threw them on the same sheet pan to roast up next to the squash. As the butternut squash roasted in the oven, my mind traveled to topping the baked beauty with a bright, flavor packed gremolata. Created by the Italians, it’s a condiment that traditionally includes chopped parsley, lemon peel and garlic, which provides a gorgeous vegetal, slightly bitter and a super punchy hit from the garlic. I thought to myself, why not throw in the roasted squash seeds to give another layer of flavor to this delicious condiment?
This perfect weeknight meal came together in a snap with the addition of a little za’atar, an Arab spice mixture including wild thyme and sesame seeds, with minimal clean up and ingredients. It’s time to go twice baked in 2020, y’all.
Photo by @rachelgurjar
For the Butternut Squash
- 1 small butternut squash, halved and seeds reserved
- 1/4 cup La Tourangelle Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 4 teaspoons za'atar
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 (4 inch) strip peel lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- Tahini, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash, cut side up, on one half of a sheet pan, arranging the seeds on the other side. Drizzle squash and seeds each with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until seeds are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the seeds from the sheet pan to a bowl and set aside. Continue roasting squash until tender, 30-40 minutes more.
Remove squash from oven and let cool slightly. Gently scoop out the cooked squash, making sure to keep outer shell intact. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix reserved roasted squash, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, za’atar, salt and pepper on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
Preheat broiler to high and place a rack in the upper third of your oven. Place both squash shells onto sheet pan and fill with creamed squash mixture. Broil until lightly golden brown on the outside, 5-6 minutes.
While the squash is broiling, pile parsley, lemon zest and garlic on a cutting board. Roughly chop to incorporate, then transfer to a small mixing bowl with reserved roasted squash seeds and remaining 2 teaspoons za’atar. Season with salt and pepper.
Once broiled, transfer squash to a platter. Sprinkle generously with gremolata and pomegranate arils, then drizzle with olive oil and tahini and serve immediately.