Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Butternut May 14 2014

Butternut is the perfect addition to an autumn meal.  

Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. 

Butternut's tangerine colour indicates its most noteworthy health perk. The colour signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, butternut boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. What's more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. 

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Butternut

This meal is very easy to prepare. The below recipe will serve 2 people as a hearty vegetarian meal with a green salad, or 4 people as a side dish.

Ingredients:

1 half of a butternut squash

250 grams ricotta

2-3 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves

6 sliced button mushrooms

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

olive oil

Himalayan salt and black pepper for seasoning

Method:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

With a spoon, scoop out the seeds of the butternut and rub flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on a sheet of baking paper or foil for approximately 1 hour or until butternut flesh is soft and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and scoop out any excess water. Put aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the filling. 

Mix ricotta, spinach leaves, mushrooms, garlic and basil together in a large bowl.

Scoop out most of the cooked butternut leaving 1.5cm around the skin so the butternut doesn't fall apart when you add the stuffing. Add the scooped butternut to the ricotta mixture and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the mixture back in to the butternut half. There will be more mixture so heap it on top and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Put the butternut back in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let the butternut cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Photo from The Messy Chef.