Based on the dish prepared by Lebanese chef and food writer Anissa Helou.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer
• 2 pounds (1 kg) peeled and seeded (see Note) pumpkin or butternut squash (not spaghetti squash) cut in 2-3 inch cubes
• 1⁄2 cup tahini paste
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1⁄3 -1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon salt or more, to taste
• 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
• 1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika, and more to sprinkle
• 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more, to taste
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
Boil the pumpkin pieces in water for 10 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain well and transfer to a blender with the tahini, garlic, a third of a cup lemon juice, salt, cumin, one teaspoon paprika, and ground black pepper to taste. Pulse several times to make an homogeneous paste. Taste and adjust seasoning, probably adding more lemon as both pumpkin and tahini are quite sweet. I also like to fold in the lemon zest, which was not part of Anissas original recipe. Let cool and refrigerate, covered. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with crudités or toasted pita triangles.
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