Eats shoots & leaves
My boys say they don't like butternut squash. This is both outrageous and inconvenient.
Come to think of it, there are plenty of vegetables that get relegated to my plate at dinner time. Something has to change, because their range of veg is becoming smaller, proportionate to my pool of creativity. This has probably gone on for a year, without me clocking it.
So this week, I'm setting out to smuggle the good stuff back into their diet. I love butternut squash, because it's naturally sweet and contains roaring amounts of beta-carotene, trumping even the most sophisticated multivitamin pills.
Why does this excite me? Scientists agree that beta-carotene is required by our immune system to function optimally. It is the precursor to vitamin A. Clinical studies have shown that an increase in beta-carotene significantly improves our body's ability to fight off nasty foreign invaders, especially when the sniffles are doing their rounds.
This butternut pasta sauce is creamy and satisfying for your younglings, especially if you can parachute some Parmesan on top. Leave out the garlic if you suspect that's one step too far for your brood. I'm freezing home-made chicken stock into ice-cube moulds now, to effortlessly add to sauces such as this one. I feel like a professor at Hogwarts. And the boys are equally bewitched.
You will need:
½ butternut squash, peeled
1 clove garlic, unpeeled (optional)
Drop of extra-virgin olive oil
50ml-100ml chicken stock or water
1 Preheat your oven to 200°C, 390°F, Gas 6.
2 Chop the peeled butternut squash into bite-sized chunks. Then toss them on to a roasting tray, along with the clove of unpeeled garlic, if you are using it, and coat everything with some extra-virgin olive oil. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the butternut squash is soft and lightly coloured.
3 Transfer the cooked butternut squash and its roasting juices into a blender, along with up to 100ml of the chicken stock or the water, whichever you are using. If you are using it, squeeze the roasted garlic from its papery pod into the blender. Pulse until smooth.
4 You can freeze this sauce in individual portions, or serve it straightaway with your kid's favourite twisty pasta. My boys love the chickpea and wholewheat fusilli by Irish company Bunalun, which grabs on nicely to the butternut sauce. Another one to watch out for is the buckwheat fusilli, which is available in savvy delis and health food stores around the country. They love it!
Sunday Indo Life Magazine