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One French word: four, a French recipe: butternut au four

Four, masculine noun (un four, le four, des fours) = oven (pronounced foor). Au four = (literally “in the oven”) baked.

Four à pain = bread oven, four à pizza = pizza oven, four à micro-ondes = microwave, une fournée = (literally “an ovenful”) a batch, un fournil = a baker’s oven

Expression: être au four et au moulin = to do two things at once (literally “to be at the oven and at the mill”)

My recipe for today is for butternut au four = baked butternut. It is the season when we should be finishing up all stored squashes. This recipe is delicious and quick and easy to do.

Butternut au four

I’m not going to tell you what you need today. It’s so easy, but it depends on the size of butternut you need to feed the number of people you are going to be. I did half a very small one, about 8 inches long, with 3/4 of a ball of mozzarella, since I was eating alone.

My little butternut which has just been baked


  1. Bake half a butternut for as long as it takes to get soft (mine took about 25 minutes on 180° but it was very small). Just bake it as it is, with the seeds. You can remove them and any unwanted filaments once it is cooked.
  2. Fill the hole with buffalo milk (in other words real) mozzarella, torn into pieces. Sprinkle with dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, thyme), salt and freshly ground pepper. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes, until the mozzarella has melted.
  3. Serve with a tablespoon of your favourite tomato sauce – I used tomato, olive and basil – and a green salad.
  4. Put the seeds back into the oven sprinkled with salt, even with the oven off, they will continue roasting and you can have them with drinks later.

With mozzarella (di bufala campana)

This is real “dashing in at the end of a day’s work and wondering what we are going to eat” food. Simple, healthy stuff, if you use proper and not industrial mozzarella, organic butternut (which costs nothing), and home-made or organic pasta sauce.

Rebaked, with the herbs on top

Do you spot the error in two of the photos above? (No, not that they are a bit blurred, I’m afraid they often are.) I’m drinking water, and at Sunday lunchtime too! Well, miracles happen…

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

2 responses »

  1. I almost never use butternut except for the seeds (which I really like to use in a thin crisp bread). This recipe could be a very nice start I think! Hope i’ll find butternut.
    Do you use it in the similar way as squash in recipes?

    • Exactly the same as squash, it is tasty just like potimarron (is that the same in English, the little round bright orange one), sweet and nutty. They come in all sizes so are easy for a single person to use. My farm shop sells them, as well as the organic shop in Quimper where I got this one, for 0.88€!


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