Every so often I stumble across a recipe that I think sounds interesting, I make up and I promptly fall head over heels for. This absolute gem from the archives of Bon Appetit and the mind of Senior Food Editor Chris Morocco is one such example of my rampant, random, recipe obsession.
Currently in the throes of a wintry obsession with roasted squash and carrots – honestly, I’ve years to make up for where carrots are concerned having only recently realised that my decades long avoidance of ‘squishy’ carrots has kept me from the perfectly caramelised vegetables which emerge after time spent in the oven – and needing to find as many ways to eat them as I possibly can, this tangy, spicy, sweet dressing is glorious in its complexity of flavours and simplicity of cooking.
Agrodolce is a traditional sweet and sour sauce found in Italian cuisine and it’s the ultimate in balancing tart sharpness from vinegar & chillis with ripe sweetness from honey & dried fruit. It cuts through the soft, sweet, roasted vegetables leaving a beautifully full flavour behind and if you like the combination of savoury & sweet, you may find yourself gently musing over just how this bad boy of Italian cooking managed to sneak by you for so many years.
You will wonder if everything is just going to taste of red wine vinegar.
It doesn’t. Trust me.
You will thoughtfully ponder the pairing of sultanas with red pepper flakes.
It works. Believe me.
You will mull over the fact that 8 servings sounds like a perfect amount for batch cooking to see you through the week.
It’s not. I should know.
Actually, for clarification on that last point, it probably is unless you happen to be a greedy little so-and-so like yours truly. The ingredient amounts are slightly tweaked below from the original recipe as it was only for two people but if there’s one thing I won’t do dear reader, it’s lie to you.
We ate the whole thing. Yup.
Whipped it up as a little vegetarian supper, threw crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds & pistachios on top, poured some Pinot Noir, turned on catch-up ‘Family Guy’ and dug in.
Regrets? I had none.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side)
1 butternut squash, seeds removed and sliced into 1.5cm round slices
2 carrots, tops removed and sliced into batons
2 tablespoons olive oil
Maldon flaky sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 chillis, thinly sliced (Fresno, jalapeno or standard red & green work fine)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sultanas, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled into medium sized chunks
- seeds of half a pomegranate
- 25g chopped pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 400/200°/gas mark 6.
- Place your squash and carrots on a couple of large rimmed baking trays.
- Drizzle everything with olive oil and season well with salt & pepper.
- Roast, turning occasionally, until the vegetables are golden brown and tender; this will take roughly 40-45 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices so it will help if you can keep them all a similar thickness when cutting.
- While your vegetables roast, put your sliced chillis, red wine vinegar, honey, sultanas, red pepper flakes & a pinch of sea salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Reduce the heat once you’ve reached boiling point and simmer until syrupy which will take 8–10 minutes.
- Remove the squash & carrots from the oven and lay out onto a serving platter.
- Just before drizzling over your roasted vegetables, reheat the sauce gently, adding a dribble of water to loosen if it’s become overly thick & sticky.
- Spoon the sauce over the top, add the crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds & pistachios and serve immediately.
*This dish can be made 3 hours ahead; simply store tightly covered at room temperature.