Sunday, 6 November 2011

White Truffle Butternut Squash Veloute w. Pecorino Crisp

Behind this extremely posh sounding name is a rather simple recipe which gives the butternut squash, the chubby ginger kid of the autumn season, an MTV style make-over and turn it into an unctuous and velvety superstar of a dish. I've just returned from a small vacation in Rome where I picked up a bottle of white truffle oil which seems to give this dish that extra layer I was looking for. If fancy sounding recipes make you cringe and bring out your worst kitchen phobias, this might be a first step in overcoming those fears as it's as good as fool-proof. And this way you can wow your next dinner guests with something fanciful, making them believe you've turned into some kind of super chef overnight. Truffle oil is becoming easier to find nowadays, mainly because it's mostly chemically produced and has never actually seen any truffles. Some chefs frown upon it, but for the rest of us who can't afford to buy a real white truffle, we'll have to do with this.
1 onion
1 kg butternut squash, peeled and cubed in about 2x2 cm
1 small twig of rosemary
about 0.5-0.75 l of water
2 slices of sandwich cheese
50ml cream
about 1 small tsp of white truffle oil
Pecorino Crisps:
50g of grated Italian pecorino cheese, or parmesan
Pinch of dried oregano and thyme

Start by frying the onion at medium heat in a large pot for about 8 minutes.
Add the cubed butternut squash, the rosemary and enough water to nearly cover. The more water you add, the runnier the veloute will be. You can always add more if it gets too thick. Boil until the butternut squash is tender and falling apart. I used a pressure cooker to speed up the process.
Meanwhile, grate the pecorino cheese in small mountains on baking paper, sprinkle a bit of dried herbs on top and grill them until they become golden brown around the edges. Set aside to cool off completely and you should have small, crunchy cheese crisps.

When the butternut squash is cooked, remove the rosemary and blend the lot until smooth.
Now for the wada-woom. Add the cheese, cream and white truffle oil and stir until the cheese is completely melted. Taste for salt and add a bit more truffle oil to taste. But be careful, it's quite pungent and you only want a hint of it.
Serve with a good rustic bread, the pecorino crisp and a bit of cut chives for decoration.