Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges with a Sage Hazelnut Pesto

By melissav
October 26, 2010
126 Comments


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
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

Sage, Hazelnut, Ricotta Salata Pesto

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


  • 1 pinch 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 teaspoon cayenne, depending on taste (up to 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions

  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.

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Reviews (126) Questions (9)

126 Comments

Lisasaintlouis October 5, 2018
Can someone clarify the ingredient list for the pesto? My monitor shows that after the hazelnuts I need 1/4 cup of something that does not appear. Next is listed 2 tablespoons of ricotta salata. Is that meant to be 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of the cheese or am I missing an ingredient?
 
jungli_beleza October 5, 2018
1/3 cup Hazelnuts, toasted <br />1/4 cup ricotta salata, 2 tbsps. Of which should be medium fine crumbles (to be used as a finishing topping with the pesto).<br />
 
Andrew A. November 14, 2017
Has anyone tried this with cubed butternut squash? I'm feeding 12 and think it would be much easier to cube and roast. Thoughts?
 
Cheryl November 14, 2017
I haven't tried that way (but think I will the next time). love this and made this several times and the slices are awkward to eat. Plus if it was cubed, the pesto and cheese could be more evenly distributed. Just make sure the cubes don't get overdone.
 
Andrew A. November 14, 2017
I think I'll try it that way - I'll let you know how it turns out!
 
Ann.T November 27, 2016
Every Thanksgiving, I like to try a new side dish out along with the usual dishes. Everyone loved this, and voted it into regular rotation! <br /><br />I did as others did and adjusted per what I had on hand (walnuts and feta instead of hazelnuts and ricotta salata).<br /><br />I bet this will also be a huge hit at the holiday potluck, as it can be served at room temp.
 
Cheryl February 12, 2016
Oh my that was wonderful! Used feta in a very small crumble.
 
cindy November 22, 2015
Hi I am going to make this for my side to bring to my in laws. There are quite a few of us, and even in their large kitchen it gets pretty crowded. Could you give me suggestions for preparing this ahead of time and re heating it when it's dinner time. Thanks so much! Cindy
 
Susan November 3, 2015
This was on our thanksgiving menu last year and it was well enjoyed. I was thinking of making it again this year. This time for my husband's family. The only issue is that there are two people in his family with tree nut allergy. Any suggestions for subbing the hazelnuts? I was considering pepitas or sunflower seeds. Thoughts?
 
epicharis October 12, 2015
This was incredible. I made a double batch of the pesto because I figured it would be tempting and sure enough, my boyfriend and I are spreading it on toast. The squash is just perfect. Thank you for this!
 
Samantha A. December 3, 2014
Soooo good. We made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out amazing. It was the most popular dish on the table. Thank you!
 
Sharon F. November 15, 2014
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.
 
Marie November 15, 2014
Sure looks great! I usually cube the butternut squash and bake it (paprika and olive oil) Another wonderful way to eat this yummy squash!!
 
Kira F. November 4, 2014
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
 
DellaConsuela October 24, 2014
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
 
Callie H. October 6, 2014
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.<br />
 
jungli_beleza July 18, 2014
yes! made for a party; everyone consumed to the last tiny bit!
 
Josie M. March 22, 2014
So, so delicious! We'll definitely be making this many more times! (I used feta in place off the ricotta).
 
ksschapp January 4, 2014
Made this for Thanksgiving and even my picky eaters loved it. Looking forward to finding other uses for the pesto.
 
erica December 17, 2013
Just made this and loved it! Beautiful too!
 
gotham G. June 1, 2013
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!
 
ChefFace January 23, 2013
yummm, made this for a large crowd, rave reviews, thank you!
 
Lori L. January 21, 2013
Congrats on this! http://www.purewow.com/entry_detail/recipe/4483/Butternut-squash-from-a-crowd-sourced-cookbook.htm