Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges with a Sage Hazelnut Pesto

By • October 26, 2010 116 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&MThe Editors

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 teaspoons 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 to 15 minutes until caramelized. Remove from oven and flip over. Bake another 10 to 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: Warm 3 tablespoons 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. 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). Add the cheese to the bowl along with 1 to 2 tablespoons 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.

More Great Recipes: Pesto|Ricotta|Vegetables|Side Dishes|Olive Oil

Topics: Thanksgiving

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Comments (116) Questions (9)


9 months ago Samantha Arnstadt

Soooo good. We made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out amazing. It was the most popular dish on the table. Thank you!


10 months ago Sharon Flor

Very yummy. Just made it for dinner tonight. The ricotta salata was not necessary and next time (if I don't have any on hand) I might just leave it out. I thought it would melt with the warm oil or the hot butternut squash, but it stayed intact.


10 months ago Marie

Sure looks great! I usually cube the butternut squash and bake it (paprika and olive oil) Another wonderful way to eat this yummy squash!!


10 months ago Kira Fickenscher

This was unbelievably good!! I didn't have hazelnuts so used cashews - still great. I had to search 4 grocery stores for Ricotta Salata but was pleasantly surprised to learn it's not that expensive of a cheese. Now I just need to figure out how to use the rest of it. :-P


10 months ago DellaConsuela

I can't believe how good this is! got some butternut squash in my CSA box and was looking for something new. I used pecans instead of hazelnuts (I live in the south and they're always on hand). Fabulous! would definitely make for company


11 months ago Callie Baker

This was AMAZING! I ended up just finely chopping the garlic and putting that in the olive oil with sage, let that cook a few minutes and then pour that over the nuts and added cheese. I was without a food processor and I really liked the nutty taste this provided it was really great.


about 1 year ago jungli_beleza

yes! made for a party; everyone consumed to the last tiny bit!


over 1 year ago Josie Marsh

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


over 1 year ago ksschapp

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


over 1 year ago erica

Just made this and loved it! Beautiful too!


over 2 years 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!


over 2 years ago ChefFace

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


over 2 years ago lorinarlock

Congrats on this!


almost 3 years ago Chef Tracy D

This was excellent... loved the pesto!


over 3 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.


over 3 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.


over 3 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.


almost 4 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.


almost 4 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!


almost 4 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!


almost 4 years ago Atlanticgull

Wow. Wow. Wow.

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


almost 4 years ago Atlanticgull

Wow. Wow. Wow.

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