Sometimes it really is as easy as finding nice things and putting them together. On a plate, in an outfit, at a party, in your living room: something great + something great = something great. Or something doubly great. Or something great to the power great. Wow, my last Maths lesson was a really long time ago. Anyway, my point is that nothing bad will happen. Your flatmate from university will get on really well with your friend from school, even if they've never met before. An ebay mirror and a proper-shop coffee table will not shout out "we don't match! we don't match!". A statement necklace and a killer tweed jacket can add up to the perfect Autumn outfit. And putting roasted butternut, prosciutto and cheese together in a salad just cannot end badly.
We've had people round twice in the last two days (and worse than people, FAMILY) but everything we cooked was an old favourite on this blog (and can be found on the new "Top 10" page). And between the tidying, the shopping, the cleaning, the cleaning up, the shopping again, the cooking in advance and the using up of leftovers, there hasn't been much time to try out anything new.
But a few nights ago, while a lamb and date tagine was bubbling in the oven and some chocolate fondants were chilling in the fridge, we quickly chucked together some tasty things from the fridge - and made one of the most delicious salads we've had in ages. Sure, it's nothing ground-breaking but you know what? I don't care. Every element was a favourite and they combined to make salad perfection. And much as I love trying something fancy or frightening, sometimes it's good to keep it simple. Now, if you'll excuse me, there are two leftover fondants in the fridge and a Sunday smorgasbord of Downton, Homeland and last night's Strictly. If you need me, I'll be on the sofa with my jimjams, a blanket, the fondant and a spoon. See what I mean? Each element is good, but together is even better.
Roasted Butternut Squash, Prosciutto and Pecorino Salad
Loosely based on this recipe
- half a butternut squash, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into chunks (save the seeds if you can)
- half a teaspoon of coriander seeds, bashed up in a pestle and mortar
- a shake of dried chilli flakes
- salad leaves (I used a combo of baby spinach, watercress and rocket)
- a few slices of prosciutto
- olive oil, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar
- a good sized chunk of pecorino
- optional, greedy but good - a ball of buffalo mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 180C. Toss the chunks of squash with the chilli, coriander, some salt and pepper and olive oil, and roast for 30 minutes or until tender inside and starting to catch on the outside. If you could be bothered to save the seeds, drizzle them in a little bit of oil and chuck in the oven on top of the chunks of squash for the last ten minutes.
Arrange the salad leaves on a couple of plates, and scatter over the mozzarella (if you're using) and squash. Drape the prosciutto slices, and drizzle the whole lot with a little bit of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Finally, use a vegetable peeler to shave off slices of pecorino over the whole lot. Enjoy!