~ Makes 12 Individual Tapas ~
This is a two-part recipe where both an oven and food processor are required. Putting it together is a breeze once the individual components are done - layered from the bottom up with rounds of butternut squash roasted in lemon and olive oil, then a dollop of creamy red pepper almond pesto finished with a quarter of vine tomato dry roasted in balsamic vinegar. Good as finger-food for a fun filled evening or accompanying a salad for a light lunch or dinner.
1 butternut squash, peeled
3 ripe vine-tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ lemon squeezed
3 red bell peppers (red and/or yellow are both fine if that is what is available)
Salt & Pepper
- Peel the butternut squash and cut round slices of approximately 2 cm thick. Ideally you want to use the top part of the Squash before it fills out to it's hollow cavity full of seeds. This remaining part of the squash can be cut up and used in a warming soup or curry. Toss in a bowl the squash round slices with olive oil and lemon juice till lightly and evenly coated.
Place them on a tray layered with baking parchment and roast for approximately 30 minutes at 180 °C. Check they done by testing to see if the butternut has softened. Once cooked through remove them from the oven.
- Quarter the vine ripened tomatoes and mix them in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar. Place them on a tray layered with baking parchment and roast for approximately 1 hour at 180 °C until softened and caramelised around the edges.
- Lastly take 3 bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, decore and place on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for 35 - 40 min at 180°C . Check that the peppers are ready once softened. Now you have the roasted pepper flesh ready for preparing your pesto.
I always make a big batch of the pesto. It can hold well in the fridge for at least 5 days and it freezes very well. You can use it in salads, pastas or as a fancy spread on your Valentine's Day breakfast in bed.
~ Makes 600g Pesto ~
2 cups roasted peppers Red and/or Yellow, though red peppers will give an overall sweeter flavour to the pesto.
2 cups ground almonds
2 cups good quality extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup white wine vinegar
Juice of 2.5 - 3 lemons
½ cup mint leaves
In a Thermomix (or food processor) add the roasted peppers, ground almonds and white wine vinegar. Then the mint leaves. Reduce the speed of the processor to medium-low (3.5 to 4 on Thermomix) and slowly add the olive oil. Then the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Take a slice of butternut as the base layer, top with a tablespoon red pepper pesto and then place a balsamic roasted tomato on top. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Head Chef - The Hopsack