This Thanksgiving, put a little pizazz on the table with this crazy good butternut squash dish.
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
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
- Preheat the oven to 500°F and place a rack in the lowest slot in the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- 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.
- Toss squash with olive oil, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Place in a single layer on baking sheet.
- 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.
- While the squash is roasting, make the pesto: (1) warm 3 T. 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. (3) add the cheese to the bowl along with 1-2 T. 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.
- Once the squash is roasted, arrange on serving platter and top with desired amount of pesto. Enjoy!
And because I couldn’t decide which one to share for a Thanksgiving appetizer, here’s another awesome recipe for you! I made these as a test run before Thanksgiving and my family devoured them in a matter of minutes! My husband, whose persnickety palate can sometimes be a bit hard to please, lavished me with praise between mouthfuls. I will definitely be adding these to my “rockstar recipe” repertoire!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound)
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (1 cup)
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced small (1 cup)
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Peel the sweet potato and slice into 1/8-inch thick rounds.
- Generously coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- Put one slice of the sweet potato into each cup.
- Top each with about a teaspoon of the shredded gruyere and diced pancetta; sprinkle with a little salt and white pepper.
- Repeat twice, overlapping small sweet potato slices if necessary to make a layer and use all slices.
- Add any leftover cheese and pancetta on top.
- Spoon a tablespoon of heavy cream on top of each cup.
- Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover pan loosely with the foil, sprayed side down.
- Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin and serve as a side dish to your favorite main course.
Here’s to a wonderful day of thanks to enjoy, share and remember!