Revisiting Gourmet Food for a Fiver – Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Lemon Honey

I recently came across my copy of Jason Atherton’s food for a fiver which had fallen to the back of my cookbook collection.  Flicking through, I was once again seduced by the delights within and decided that it was time to have another go at a recipe from the book.  The butternut squash with ricotta and lemon honey caught my eye.  Butternut squash is one of my favourite things to eat and this looked like a really interesting way to enjoy it. It’s a starter recipe for four, but I decided to serve it as a main for two instead.

The recipe didn’t give an estimate for how long it would take to cook, but having had a quick look through I could see it wasn’t going to be a quick one.  I started by roasting off the butternut squash.  The squash was cut into wedges, drizzled with oil and salted.  These chunks were then covered in foil to prevent the flesh from browning and went into the oven for 45 minutes at 190°C.

Roasting the squash

Once the squash was cooked, the next thing that needed to be done was to make a sort of paste with the butternut squash.  I removed the flesh from the skin and cut this into large chunks.  These were placed in a dry frying pan and cooked slowly over a low heat for 15 minutes so that they broke down.  The flesh then went into a bowl and into the fridge to cool.

Making the butternut squash paste

While the butternut squash flesh was in the fridge I prepared the accompaniments.  These were really straight forward.  I mixed 150g of ricotta with 40mls of milk to a smooth spreadable consistency and added lemon zest and juice into honey.  When the butternut squash was cool enough to handle I then started to make my quenelles, first shaping the squash with two spoons before dipping them in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs.  The butternut squash was very soft so, although the quenelles looked great on the spoons, by the time I got them bread-crumbed they were a little more like sausages!

Making the quenelles

My butternut squash provided enough to make twelve quenelles.   Once they were all bread-crumbed they went back into the fridge to firm up while I heated up my oil.  With the oil nice and hot I fried the quenelles in two batches, covering the first lot in foil to keep them warm.

Frying the quenelles

With all the quenelles cooked it was time to plate up.  The book is very helpful on this front and gives lots of useful advice on professional presentation.  I started by smearing two tablespoons of ricotta on each plate, almost like a ying and yang.  I then stacked three quenelles on each smear before artfully placing some fresh salad leaves around.   Finally I topped everything with some parmesan shavings and drizzled over the lemon honey.

All served up!

It looked great, just like in the book and one of the most professional looking things I have produced.  The taste was equally fine.    The ricotta was a little bland but by contrast the lemon honey was amazing.    I wouldn’t have thought that something so straight forward to make could be so tasty.  I’m already thinking of other dishes on which I can use this lovely honey dressing.  All in all I loved this meal.  Though it took about 2 and a half hours to prepare, , a lot of that was waiting rather than standing over the stove so I could get on with other things.

I was really glad that things went well cooking from the book this time.  The book itself is full of really nice looking recipes and the concept is a nice one.  Having had such a success, I feel more confident about giving some more of the dishes a try. I will, of course, write about them.


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6 Responses to “Revisiting Gourmet Food for a Fiver – Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Lemon Honey”

  1. Wendy Says:

    Oh Rhi… another great butternut squash recipe! That looks delicious!

  2. Karolina Says:

    Wow, I love this idea. I am not sure, but I think I am first time on your blog, will definately visit you more often. 🙂

  3. MaryMoh Says:

    Looks very healthy and delicious. I love butternut squash. I should try this. Thanks very much for sharing.

  4. Anne Says:

    I have a thing about butternut squash lately, these will make the perfect answer to my tastebuds! They look so tasty and love the idea of combining with the creamy ricotta and lemon honey, mmm!

  5. Mark Says:

    I love butternut squash and am a big fan of Atherton, will have to look out for the book you used.

    Very impressive, your finished plate certainly does look professional.


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