Sunday, November 24, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage Hazelnut Pesto

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage Hazelnut Pesto

My ‘vegan at home’ tasting partner and I have been eating roasted vegetables a lot this month, and while I love the root vegetable medley that I recently posted, sometimes I want something different, a little more involved.  When we were eating fish at home (before we ventured into the ‘vegan at home’ diet) I would have numerous presentations and tastes for grilled salmon.  Not so much with vegetables.  I am working on that because I realize in order to be successful with a vegetable based, vegan diet, I need to have exciting, fresh tastes to compliment the vegetables.  This recipe, from FOOD52, meets those criteria.  Combining a hazelnut pesto with roasted butternut squash, and adding ricotta salata (not vegan) is a wonderful taste.  I recently served this dish when my sister was visiting, and both she and my tasting partner applauded my efforts. 

recipe after the jump

Roasted Butternut Squash Wedges with Sage Hazelnut Pesto

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  (can also substitute feta)

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 width-wise, right where the slender part curves out to the bulge. Cut each quarter into about 1 inch wedges 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 1-2 TB more olive oil and stir until combined and salt to taste. 
(4) Stir in the crumpled cheese, or keep to the side, to add if desired

6. Once the squash is roasted, place in a large platter and top with pesto.  Individuals can add the crumbled cheese as desired.  

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