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Roasted Butternut Squash with Fresh
Tuscan Pecorino and Devil's Honey

from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen by Chester Hastings
Roasted Butternut Squash with Fresh Tuscan Pecorino and Devil's Honey

For the squash:
2 butternut squash
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1/2 lb fresh pecorino cheese, cut into 1/4 in-thick squared slices

For the devil's honey:
1/2 cup wildflower honey
1/4 tsp crushed red chilies

Serves 4 to 6

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in The Cheesemonger's Kitchen: Celebrating Cheese in 75 Recipes
by Chester Hastings from Chronicle Books


This recipe comes from my friend Brooke Burton; she had been served a similar dish on her honeymoon in Italy and wanted to re-create it at home. We set out together to find the perfect cheese to use, as she wasn't given the recipe (sneaky cook!). As she described the dish, the flavors and textures seemed indelibly planted in her heart so it didn't take much experimenting. Turns out the cheese was a fresh Tuscan Pecorino, and although a mozzarella or even a Jack would work, there is something about combining the tang of sheep's milk and the creaminess of the squash that just works perfectly. The chili-spiked wildflower honey is my own addition, as the sweet heat cuts through the richness of this fantastic dish.

To prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel the squash and cut the neck of each squash into 1-in rounds. Reserve the bottoms of the squash for another use. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Use your fingers to coat every side of the squash rounds with the oil. Season with sea salt.

Bake the squash rounds on a baking sheet/tray for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender to the touch of a fork. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Lightly oil a baking dish and either layer the slices of cooked squash and cheese au cheval (shingled like fallen dominoes) or stack up in towers. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is runny and gooey.

To prepare the devil's honey: Combine the honey and chilies in a small saucepan. Cook gently over medium heat until the honey just begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Drizzle the honey over the squash before serving.

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