Rena’s February Recipe: It’s Hot and Sweet

side-gochujang-sesame-butternut-squash-940x560Gochujang-and-Sesame-Roasted Butternut Squash

by Rena Basch

When the latest, miraculously delicious, trendy ingredients are promoted by for-profit cooking magazines, I ususally try to ignore them. Or just smirk smugly, as in “I’m not getting sucked into searching for the impossible-to-find, often expensive, use-it-once-and-never again latest-n-greatest ingredient.” But, there are exceptions. Gochujang. I love this stuff. Gochujang is a Korean hot pepper paste; a savory, spicy, sweet, and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It’s got this sweet & spicy thing going on. If you’ve had bi bim bap at a Korean restaurant, the flavor will be familiar, as it is an ingredient in the sauce typically served with bi bim bap. It’s not that difficult to find in the Asian sections of local grocery stores or any of the Asian grocery stores around town, such as the Galleria Market on Packard in Ann Arbor, or Hua Xing Asia Market on Washtenaw in Ypsilanti. Look for it in square-shaped red tubs.Gochujang container

On to the recipe. Gochujang & sesame roasted butternut squash from bon appetit magazine. According to bon appetit, “This would work with any other winter squash—acorn and delicata don’t even have to be peeled.” However I love it with the butternut, which roasts well, and is easy to find at this time of the year, unlike delicata which does not keep as well as the hard winter squashes. These days, I’ll say this is my favorite preparation of butternut squash.  Hope you enjoy it!

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, sliced ¼” thick
Scallions, thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Whisk sesame seeds, oil, gochujang, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add squash and toss to coat. Divide squash between 2 rimmed baking sheets, arranging in a single layer. Roast, rotating sheets once, until tender and browned on some edges, 25–30 minutes. Serve topped with scallions and salt.

Here’s the link to the recipe in bon appetit