Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges with a Sage Hazelnut Pesto

By • October 26, 2010 • 109 Comments


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Author Notes: Sage and butternut squash are a classic pairing. This is my riff on that pairing - a combination of squash wedges roasted at a very high heat topped with a hazelnut, sage, and ricotta salata pesto-ish topping. The idea to make a pesto using sage was inspired by the sage pesto in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. The finished dish is great hot or at room temperature. - melissavmelissav

Food52 Review: Remember that potato chip commercial that goes: "Betcha can't eat just one?" Well, that's kind of how we felt, eating these squash wedges right out of the bowl. With our fingers. In a 500-degree oven, melissav's squash develops gorgeous bronzed edges and an almost candied interior. A hint of cayenne brings a subtle kick. The pesto, almost impossibly fragrant, is rich and subtle at the same time. It's garlicky without being overpowering, the toasted hazelnuts give it richness and depth, and the ricotta salata lends the otherwise earthy pesto a fresh salinity. We dare you to eat just one wedge. - A&MA&M

Serves 4

Sage, Hazelnut, Ricotta Salata Pesto

  • 1/4 cup sage, chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ricotta salata, crumbled or chopped until a medium fine crumble
  • salt

Butternut Squash

  • 2 butternut squashes [about 3.5 lbs total when unpeeled]
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne, depending on taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 and place a rack in the lowest slot in the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut each squash half in half widthwise, right where the slender part curves out to the bulge. Cut each quarter into about 1 inch wedges (see picture) and place in a bowl.
  3. Toss squash with olive oil, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Place in a single layer on baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 10-15 minutes until caramelized. Remove from oven and flip over. Bake another 10-15 minutes until caramelized on the other side and cooked through. The pieces on the edges of the baking sheet will caramelize first so you want to move around during the baking time.
  5. While the squash is roasting, make the pesto: (1) warm 3 TB olive oil, sage, and garlic in a small pan over very low heat just until the oil bubbles. Pour in a small bowl, reserving the garlic clove. (2) Place the toasted hazelnuts in mini food processor along with the garlic clove and process until a fine crumble and add to the bowl (alternatively, you can do by hand or in a mortar and pestle). (3) add the cheese to the bowl along with 1-2 TB more olive oil and stir until combined and salt to taste. This is not a traditional pesto - more nutty than herby and not so much oil.
  6. Once the squash is roasted, place in a large bowl and toss with pesto to taste. Dig in.

Tags: butternut squash, hazelnuts, Holidays, pesto, sage, travels well

Comments (109) Questions (8)

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about 1 month ago Josie Marsh

So, so delicious! We'll definitely be making this many more times! (I used feta in place off the ricotta).

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4 months ago ksschapp

Made this for Thanksgiving and even my picky eaters loved it. Looking forward to finding other uses for the pesto.

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4 months ago erica

Just made this and loved it! Beautiful too!

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11 months ago gotham gourmand

Absolutely delicious! I made this as a side dish for a small dinner party at my house and we all literally fought over the last serving. Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe!

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about 1 year ago ChefFace

yummm, made this for a large crowd, rave reviews, thank you!

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over 1 year ago lorinarlock

Congrats on this! http://www.purewow.com...

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over 1 year ago Chef Tracy D

This was excellent... loved the pesto!

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over 2 years ago Trillinchick

I am confused about the garlic in the ingredients and recipe. It calls for 1 clove of garlic. It says to mix the garlic with olive oil and sage, and to reserve 1 clove of garlic? I don't understand - 1 clove or 2? I went to the question section first but none them appeared to have been answered. Help us out, please!
Thank you.

Ry_400

over 2 years ago melissav

After you warm the garlic with the sage and oil, you put the sage and oil in a bowl. You reserve the garlic clove because you add it to the processor with the nuts. I hope this helps.

Ry_400

over 2 years ago melissav

You warm the garlic clove with the sage and oil. Once warmed, you put the sage and oil in a bowl. You reserve the garlic clove after it is warmed because you will be adding it to the processor with the nuts in the next step. Hope this helps.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

I made this for Thanksgiving, and my husband declared it the star of the meal! I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to try it! What a fabulous combination of flavors and textures...I'll be making this again and again.

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over 2 years ago fearlessem

So glad this got re-highlighted on the site. I made it last year, it was super awesome, and then I promptly forgot about it. Can't wait to make it again!

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over 2 years ago Miamac

I made this last winter and it was so amazingly good that my sister still mentions it. It's all we ate for dinner that night. Now that Thanksgiving approaches, it's at the top of my list! so good and so easy!

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over 2 years ago Atlanticgull

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This just earned a much desired spot on a very competitive T-day table. You are a genius.

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over 2 years ago Atlanticgull

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This just earned a much desired spot on a very competitive T-day table. You are a genius.

Mlt_yogateau_1

over 2 years ago mtrelaun

Did you know that this recipe makes the most delicious soup ever? Last night I puréed the roasted squash with chicken stock, and it was fab.

Ry_400

over 2 years ago melissav

Great idea. Did you top it with some of the pesto or blend the pesto into the soup?

Ry_400

over 2 years ago melissav

Great idea. Did you puree the pesto with the soup or use it as a topping? I'm going to give this idea a whirl . . .

Mlt_yogateau_1

over 2 years ago mtrelaun

@melissav, I've made it into soup twice. The first time, I topped it with the pesto. The second time, I didn't have the ingredients for the pesto so I put a blob of Greek yoghurt and some bacon crumbles on top. Fab both times!

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over 2 years ago liz.wellbelovedstone

LOVED this dish! Served it over a garlic couscous. Will be making it again very soon! Thank you for posting this (I got it from Whole Foods' page yesterday).

Henrykiss

over 2 years ago arielleclementine

what a wonderful recipe! this is probably the most delicious butternut squash i've ever had. thanks so much for sharing :)

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almost 3 years ago parker

I have an obsession for butternut squash ravioli, but I'm usually disappointed by its blandness. So I did an "inside out" version, dumping this whole dish into a big bowl of linguini. Big flavour at last - worked great!

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about 3 years ago dymnyno

If you baked it at lower heat as I did for my Spicy Butternut Salad it would caramelize better and not burn (as it appears from your picture yours did). I have been making my version a year before the contest and it is perfect every time! It looks like Sara Schatz styled yours after my photo.

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over 3 years ago tburns01

I made this last night with some Butternut squash from our CSA and it was FABULOUS!! It was one of the best squash recipes I have ever tried. I will definitely make it again as we have an over abundance of butternut squash in our root cellar.

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

I made this a while back and loved it and just made it again this past weekend for a dinner party and I just wanted to mention again how delicious this combination is. The flavors really balance each other. Really delicious!