Layering flavors and textures makes me a winner, with Ottolenghi’s version of “simple.”

Butternut Squash with Corn Salsa, Feta, and Pumpkin Seeds
Ottolenghi Simple
Serves 6 as a side

1 extra-large butternut squash (2¾ lbs.), unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into wedges, about 3¼ inches long
and 1¼ inches wide
5 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra to serve
salt & black pepper
1½ cups frozen corn, defrosted
1 large red chile, seeded and finely diced
3 limes, finely zest 1 to get 2 tsp., then juice to get ¼ cup
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, roughly shredded
3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, toasted
1¾ oz. roughly crumbled into ½-¾-inch pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Mix the butternut squash with 2 Tbsp. of oil, ½ tsp. of salt, and plenty of pepper. Spread out on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, skin down and spaced well apart. Roast for 25 minutes, until the squash is cooked through and golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

3. Char defrosted corn in a pan on the stove top. Place the kernels in a bowl with the chile, lime zest, lime juice, the remaining 3 Tbsp. of oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and the cilantro and mint. Mix well and set aside.

4. Arrange the squash on a separate plates or on one large platter. Spoon the salsa on top, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds, dot with the feta, and serve, drizzled with a little extra oil.

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Merely squash -- a side dish. I baked my wedges for 32 minutes. Easy enough to “char” my defrosted corn on the stove top.

We win with the Ottolenghi layers: sweet squash + corn + salty, chunky feta + crispy toasted seeds + tart lime + herbal greens. See how it happens?

A fantastic piece, how more and more, layers and layers, makes a fine dish.

Next week, I’ll try the “Spiced ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ with Lima Bean Crust,” from Ottolenghi Simple.

Spiced ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ with Lima Bean Crust
Ottolenghi Simple
Serves six

6 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb. 5 oz. minced lamb
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. ground allspice
2 lemons, finely zested
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 Tbsp. harissa
3½ oz. dried apricots, quartered
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. chicken stock
¾ cup plus 3 Tbsp. white wine
2/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
4 cups cooked lima beans
¼ cup tahini
3 Tbsp. water
black pepper

Place 3 Tbsp. of oil into a large heavy-bottom pan with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. Increase the heat to high and add the lamb, cumin, allspice, half the the lemon zest, and ½ tsp. salt. Fry for five minutes, until browned, stirring every now and then, then add the tomato paste, harissa, and apricots. Fry for another 2 minutes, then pour in the stock and wine. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Once cooked, set aside to cool, then add the olives. Spoon into an 8 x 10-inch ovenproof high-sided dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will firm up the meat, making it easier to spread the mash on top.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the mash, mix the lima beans in a bowl with the remaining lemon zest, 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, the tahini, water, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a grind of black pepper. Use a potato masher to mash the beans; they don’t need to be completely smooth, just spreadable. Spread the mash over the lamb, then use a spoon to make a few shallow divots. Drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil and bake for 30 minutes, until nicely colored and bubbly. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.