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And it's partly to do with recipes like this.
Beautiful, sweet butternut squash and sweet potato chunks roasted with pancetta, whole garlic cloves and sage leaves. Like, seriously. This kind of food makes me want to put on a pair of boots and go for a trek in the forest, through all those crackly, crispy leaves.
I love the way the sage crispens up in the heat of the oven, giving it a more intense flavour. The garlic cloves soften, so you can tease them out of their papery skins. And that pancetta. Don't even get me started on that crisp, chewy, salty pancetta.
This would be a perfect side dish for Christmas, Thanksgiving or just any autumn/winter Sunday roast dinner. It's colourful, full of flavour and I'm sure you'll love it. Let me know what you think.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato with Pancetta, Garlic and Sage
1 tbsp cooking fat or oil (I use olive oil or mild, unflavoured coconut oil)
4 large garlic cloves, left whole, skin on
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, skin on, washed and then cut into bite-sized chunks
half a medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
pinch of salt
100g smoked pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
6-7 fresh sage leaves, washed and patted dry
First, get out a shallow baking or roasting tray and line with foil. Set the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6 while you prepare the veg.
Once your butternut squash and sweet potato are chopped, tumble them into the roasting tray, trying to get them all in one layer. Separate them a little and then add the garlic cloves. Trickle in the cooking fat or oil and then quickly use your hands to coat the vegetables well. Season with a pinch of sea salt and then slide into the oven, giving the tray a shake occasionally while cooking. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
Once the squash and sweet potatoes are soft and starting to turn golden at the edges, heat a dry frying pan and gently fry the pancetta cubes, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until cooked through, crisp and golden. Add the sage leaves and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Take out the roasting tray and scatter the pancetta and sage over the squash and sweet potato, stir to combine, and then slide the tray back into the oven for 5 minutes. The sage leaves will wilt and crispen, the veggies will continue to turn golden and the pancetta will be crisp.
Serve straight away.
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