Please be assured, that my fridge does contain other vegetables than the butternut squash. I just love how versatile it is, filling it is, and how adventurous you can be with it. Not only does it suit lots of different types of dishes; curries, pastas, stews and tarts – it also lends itself to practically any cuisines; Indian, Italian, British.
This recipe was very much a ‘winging it’ dish, but I think it works. I had half a butternut squash left in the fridge, some left over wild-garlic pesto that my dad packed me off with after a visit home, and some ricotta in the fridge. I also had plenty of raw beetroot bulbs during a recent phase of grating and putting it in just about everything I cooked that week.
The recipe uses filo pastry which is a fantastic, easy, and reasonably healthy way to still indulge in the naughtiness of a proper tart. The contrasting colours from the yellow and green courgette against the beetroot means it looks really pretty, and impressive!
1x a packet of shop-bought filo pastry
½ a butternut squash
200g Ricotta cheese
1x bulb of fresh beetroot
½ a yellow courgette
½ a green courgette
3 tablespoons of pesto (shop bought is fine if you don’t have any homemade)
A few basil leaves
A knob of butter, melted for brushing the pastry
Big pinch of salt and pepper
First off – if your filo pastry is in the freezer, remove it and let it defrost. This doesn’t usually take more than a couple of hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Line a 13 x 9-inch baking tray with greaseproof paper.
To prepare the butternut squash, de-seed it, peel off the skin and chop into 2cm cubes. Place on a baking tray (not the one you have lined with greaseproof paper in preparation for the tart itself) and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Place in the oven and roast for around 30 minutes, until the squash is soft and cooked through. This step can be done in advance.
Once the squash has cooled, place in a mixing bowl and add in the Ricotta cheese. Mash together using a potato masher, until smooth and combined. Set this mixture aside.
Take your raw beetroot and grate using the largest hole side of the grater. Place the grated beetroot in another bowl and set aside.
Slice both of the courgettes into 1cm rounds and set aside.
Now start preparing the pastry. Filo pastry is notoriously fiddly but the beauty of it is, no matter how scruffy it may look when you’re preparing it, it’s guaranteed to look totally professional when it comes out of the oven (maybe rustic is the right word).
Lay the pastry one sheet at a time on the baking tray. Layer each sheet (there are usually 6 in a packet) on top of one another, and brush each sheet with the melted butter as you go along. Don’t worry if she sheets rip – this is inevitable and patching them up will not in any way effect the look of the finished article.
Now take your butternut squash and ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the pastry. Leave about 2cm from each edge, to give the tart a crust.
Sprinkle over the grated beetroot, then layer on the courgette. Do this in whichever fashion you like – I quite enjoyed alternating between the yellow and green courgettes.
Finish my dolloping the pesto, ‘dotting’ it around the tart, making sure that every slice would have a little bit of pesto in.
Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the courgette is cooked through and the pastry is brown on the edges.
If it starts to brown too quickly before the centre looks cooked through, cover with tin foil.
Sprinkle over some fresh basil leaves. Slice, and serve with a few leaves or however you please!