Two cultures connect in this dish. When I tasted the Italian-inspired Roasted Garlic and Chile Butternut Squash (recipe below), I realized that those basic flavors could work in many different cultures. I decided to go Thai because I love the flavors of that cuisine. The coconut sauce here is simply spooned over the squash and would taste awesome on other vegetables, such as green beans and sweet potatoes.
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 lemongrass stalk, white and pale yellow parts only, smashed and chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 fresh Thai chiles
2 strips lime zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Roasted Garlic and Chile Butternut Squash (recipe below)
1 lime, cut into wedges
Sliced fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Sliced scallions, for serving
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chiles, lime zest, coriander seeds, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the solids.
2. Arrange the squash on a serving dish, overlapping the pieces slightly. Squirt lime juice all over the squash, then spoon the sauce on top. Garish with the cilantro and scallions.
Roasted Garlic and Chile Butternut Squash
You can roast the squash in the oven, but don't forget that it's also delicious when cooked on the grill, one of my favorite ways to make it during cool fall weather!
1 large butternut squash, trimmed, peeled, seeds and strings discarded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or use your preheated grill, as I noted above)
2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Transfer to a half sheet pan and toss with the oil, salt, garlic, and chile flakes. Spread in a single layer.
3. Roast until tender and browned, about 30 minutes.
• A strong vegetable peeler’s good for removing the thick skin of butternut squash.
• Use the blunt edge of a chef’s knife to smash the tough, woody lemongrass stalk. It helps soften it for chopping and releases its grassy citrus fragrance.
• Spoon this aromatic coconut sauce over other vegetables, chicken, shrimp, or fish too!
• Some Like It Hot: Add more crushed red chile flakes or even a pinch a cayenne.