I had to work all weekend. There are pros and cons to freelance work. The flexibility means I can take time off for short breaks away, or an outing into central London, midweek when places are often quieter and it’s cheaper to travel. But sometimes a rush job means I have to work over the weekend. The irony was that I was kept from spending much time cooking in my kitchen by a job that was editing a cookery book (work can be very nice!). Last night’s supper was a portion of my Boeuf Daube from the freezer for an instant – but at least lovely homemade! – meal. With the end of the job in sight late afternoon today, I took a bit of time out to go into the kitchen and start to prepare supper. This could be a meal from scratch. I had a lovely butternut squash and some large vine tomatoes. I knew where I was heading with those! With winter setting in – even if it is still unusually warm for November – I’m starting to want warming and comforting soups for lunch again. Another simple instant meal of pulling portions of homemade soup from the freezer to heat through at lunchtime. And Roasted Butternut Squash & Tomato is one of my very favourite soups. I decided I’d roast the squash and tomatoes and put some of the mixture with some pasta for an evening supper tonight, then blitz the rest into a soup for lunchtime another day. One effort into two meals!!
I peeled the butternut squash, deseeded it, and cut it into large chunks and put them in a large, shallow ovenproof pan. I cut out the hard core of 5 medium-large tomatoes and then cut them into chunks and added them to the pan. Then I peeled and cut 2 medium red onions into large chunks and added those. I sprinkled over some dried thyme, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then drizzled over a generous quantity of extra virgin olive oil. Using my hands, I gently mixed it together so all the pieces of vegetable were coated in oil. I put the pan in a 200C/180 Fan oven for an hour, turning the vegetables a couple of times as they cooked to prevent the edges burning too much.
When the vegetables were close to being ready, I cooked a portion of pasta. I chose orecchiette because it is quite simply my favourite pasta! And coming from Puglia, it’s perfect for this kind of simple vegetable dish. I drained the pasta when ready and then returned it to the pan and added some of the vegetable mix. I stirred it all in together well and then transferred to a shallow dish and grated over a generous portion of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
It wasn’t quite as instant as my frozen Daube yesterday but really it was almost instant. So little work was required. And yet it tasted very gorgeous and was the most perfect supper, full of fabulous bright and colourful flavours.
After supper, I added some boiling water (I don’t have any homemade stock at the moment and don’t like using stock cubes) to the remaining vegetables.
I scraped the pan well to get the caramelised bits off the side of the pan because they’re so flavourful. Then I transferred it all to a medium saucepan and added just enough water to cover the vegetables.
I brought it all to the boil. It didn’t need anymore cooking but I wanted to get the texture and seasoning right before leaving it to cool and then packaging it up into portions for the freezer. I turned off the heat and blitzed the mixture with a hand-blender until smooth. It was a little thick so I added a bit more boiling water; but keep it fairly thick – I always think the taste is better that way. Remember to check the seasoning.
Serve it with a little cream drizzled on top if you have any, and maybe a little chopped parsley. But of course it’s wonderful just on its own. I’ll have enough for 2-3 portions to go into the freezer for another day. So really my One into Two was One into Four!!!