Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Tart with Feta and Thyme

I’ve had a butternut squash in my fridge for far too long and was struggling to think of something more interesting than a soup to use it up, so I came up with this tasty tart recipe that will last me a few days of lunches over the next week.  I love the base sauce for the tart best,  roasted tomatoes, red peppers and garlic all mixed together under soft squash and tangy feta.  This tart is great for feeding a table of people as you can add as many mixed sides as you like: new potatoes, green salad, courgettes, crusty bread and everyone will leave full and satisfied.  Although the tart isn’t exactly a quick meal, the extra time you spend roasting each component will make up for time in flavour.


Shopping List


1 small or half a large butternut squash
1 red romano pepper
2 whole cloves of garlic
8 cherry or plum tomatoes
fresh thyme
fresh parsley
a few chunks of feta cheese (get weight)
a sheet of puff pastry
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
salt and black pepper

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Method


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Peel, deseed and slice the squash in half, then slice along the squash at 1-2cm intervals.  Spread the squash onto a baking tray with 1 tablespoon of the rapeseed oil, some salt and the garlic cloves (squashed beneath the handle of a heavy knife).  Roast the squash for 25 minutes until soft and your kitchen is smelling deliciously garlicky.

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Take the squash out of the oven to cool.  Use the same tray to roast the pepper, sliced in half, deseeded and placed skin up on the tray, and the cherry/plum tomatoes, whole. Add a little extra salt and roast for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and peel off the skin from the pepper using a fork or spoon to help as well as your fingers.  The skin should come off quite easily, if they don’t then put the tray back in the oven for a few minutes until it does.  Squash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon/fork you used for the peppers and then tear up the peppers until they mash in with the tomatoes to make a kind of tomato/red pepper paste. Squidge in the garlic cloves in with this mix and add some black pepper.

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Roll out your puff pastry, or if you’re lazy/ rolling pin-less like I am, buy the pre-rolled sheets.  The problem I often encounter when making tarts with ready made pastry is that the bottom goes soggy if you add a base sauce.  To counteract this issue, I’ve been using a tip from Nigel Slater’s books where you drizzle a little oil on the baking tray you are using to make the tart, heat it up for 5 minutes in the oven and then put the pastry on the tray.  This has worked very well for me in the past so this is what I suggest you do too.

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Spread the pepper and tomato mix over the pastry, add the squash and sprinkle over the feta.  Add some fresh thyme and put into the oven for 20 minutes.  I serve this tart with some fresh parsley and a green salad or some fresh spinach.  Leave any questions or suggestions in the comment section, I would love to hear them, and thank you for reading!

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