Roasted squash, beetroot, mozzarella and basil oil
Sunday 03 October 2010
Surprisingly, the clean, clear flavour of mozzarella works as well with the sweet, mellow flavours of autumn as the strong vibrant flavours of summer such as ripe tomatoes. Gentler olive oils are called for.
8 small beetroots
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion squash (if you can't get hold of this, Crown Prince or butternut squash is fine)
1 dried red chilli
1 small bunch of marjoram
4 balls of buffalo mozzarella
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
For the basil oil
1 large bunch of basil
60ml/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Wash and pat dry the beetroots, place in a roasting tray, season and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat the beetroots. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes or until the beetroot is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove, allow to cool slightly, then slice in half lengthways. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
Slice the onion squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and cut each half into quarters. Lay in a baking tray. Crumble over the chilli and marjoram, add some salt and olive oil and roast for 30 minutes, until tender. Remove to cool.
For the basil oil, remove the stalks from the basil and place the leaves with the oil and salt in a blender. Blitz until you have a lovely, sludgy, verdant purée.
To assemble, arrange the pumpkin and beetroot on a plate and lay the roughly torn-open balls of mozzarella on top. Spoon over the basil oil and drizzle over the balsamic. Serve immediately.
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