Squash tart with Blue Monday, cobnuts and herbs

Serves 4

This is a colourful tart that you can serve as a starter or as a vegetarian main course. You can even make a long version and serve it as a sharing buffet dish.

1kg mixed squash, peeled if necessary and seeded
2tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g butter puff pastry, rolled to 1/3cm
1 egg, beaten
80-100g Blue Monday or another similar blue cheese, broken into rough 1cm nuggets

For the cobnut dressing

15-20 cobnuts, shelled and lightly toasted
2tbsp chopped green herbs
2tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

Cut the pastry into 10-12cm x 6-8cm rectangles, lay on a baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. From the trimmings

cut long 1cm-wide strips. Brush the edges of the rectangles with egg and lay the strips along all four sides, and trim them to form a ridge all the way round. Mark the edges if you wish with the blade of a knife, or use a special pastry crimper. Then brush the edges with beaten egg. Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Depending on the types of squashes you are using, peel as necessary and cut into a mixture of chunks and wedges. Take about one-sixth of the squash (without skins) and place in an ovenproof dish, season, cover and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender, then remove and blend in a food processor.

Put the rest of the squash in a roasting pan, spoon over the olive oil, season and roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, turning them every so often, until cooked.

Cut 4 rectangles out of cardboard just slightly smaller than the middle section of the tarts, wrap them a couple of times with tin foil and place in the centre of the tarts.

Bake the pastry for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden, then remove from the oven. Remove the foil rectangles and spread about a tablespoon of the squash purée in the middle of each tart. Don't put too much in; save what's left as a dip or sauce. Then arrange the cooked pieces of squash on the purée and place the nuggets of cheese on top. Reheat the tarts for about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the cobnuts and mix in a bowl with the herbs and olive oil. Serve the tart on warmed plates with the cobnut dressing spooned over.

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