Pesto-Roasted Squash

There are two varieties of winter squash I can depend on being available where I live. These are acorn squash and butternut squash. I discovered too late last fall that my local store quits selling pumpkin soon after Halloween. Lesson learned for this year.

I would love to be able to try all of the fabulous squashes I see in food bloggers’ photos from farmer’s markets, but because of my living in a more rural area of the United States, I must be satisfied with what I can get my hands on.

If I plan on roasting peeled chunks of squash, I always reach for the butternut. I mean, would you ever even consider peeling an acorn squash with all of those ridges?

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Alternatively, If I want to roast squash for a dip, a puree, or as vessels for stuffing, I reach for acorns.

Today, I’m roasting chunks of butternut squash, but using pesto instead of tossing the chunks simply in olive oil. It just adds so much flavor, and pesto is especially handy flavoring ingredient during the months when fresh herbs aren’t growing outside.

When I make large batches of pesto to freeze every summer, I always omit the cheese. First of all, it reduces the volume of pesto, and thus, the number of jars, and secondly, I prefer to add my own amount of freshly grated cheese when preparing a dish – such as, for example, pasta with pesto.

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So the pesto I’m using on this squash contains basil, parsley, garlic, pumpkin seeds, and olive oil. The flavor is condensed, without the dilution of cheese. I actually think the inclusion of cheese in the pesto might cause some burning and sticking during the roasting process. If you really want cheese on the squash, wait till the roasting is over, and sprinkle some on right before serving. I did not add cheese.

Pesto-Roasted Butternut Squash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place 1/3 – 1/2 cup of pesto (without cheese) in a large bowl. Add a little olive oil, if necessary, to make a nice slurry. Set aside.

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Meanwhile, trim and peel a large butternut squash. Remove the seeds, then chop up the squash into uniform-sized pieces. Obviously, the smaller the pieces, the less the cooking time, so it’s really up to you and how well you know your oven. Just try to get the pieces similar in size.

Toss the squash pieces in the pesto mixture. Add a little more pesto if you think it’s necessary.

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Add a little salt only if you don’t include salt when you make pesto, which I don’t. Toss, and gently pour the squash into a large roasting pan. Just so you know, I happen to love my 15-year old Mauviel roasting pan, and highly recommend the brand. It’s non-stick and heavy duty.

Place the pan in the preheated oven. The squash should be tender within about 30 minutes, but it depends on your oven, and how small you cut up the squash. Test the squash at some point to make sure you don’t overcook it, or else you’ll end up with pesto-flavored squash mash!

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Today I served the butternut squash with some grilled filet mignon.

You can really mix and match the pestos to the proteins included in a meal. For example, a cilantro pesto would lend itself well to an adobo-rubbed filet. Alternatively, a lemongrass pesto would pair beautifully with an Asian-marinated filet.

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note: If you don’t have any leftover pesto to use simply blend up a slurry of any herbs you can find at the grocery store, such as basil, parsley, and cilantro. Add garlic and olive oil and make a thick marinade of sorts; nuts are not necessary.

By Published On: October 23rd, 201433 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

33 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller October 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM - Reply

    Lovely idea. Looks delicious!

    • chef mimi October 24, 2014 at 7:17 AM - Reply

      If you love pesto and squash, yes, it’s pretty delicious!

  2. Elaine @ foodbod October 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM - Reply

    VERY nice!

  3. Julie is HostessAtHeart October 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM - Reply

    I love this recipe, and really really like the pesto tip of not adding the cheese before using it.

  4. lapadia October 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM - Reply

    I am looking at 3 butternuts from our garden, ideas to prepare them have been on my mind, love your Pesto idea and saving the cheese for last is a genius idea :)

  5. Conor Bofin October 23, 2014 at 2:20 PM - Reply

    I love this. Squashes are so delicious. The steak looks pretty tasty too.

  6. apuginthekitchen October 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    The squash looks wonderful, I never would think of using pesto on that type of squash but I like the idea very much.

    • chef mimi October 24, 2014 at 7:16 AM - Reply

      If you love pesto… it’s pretty good on anything!

  7. chefjulianna October 24, 2014 at 12:30 AM - Reply

    Mmm, this looks wonderful, Mimi! My husband is crazy for pesto, so I am going to surprise him with this one day! Thanks!

    • chef mimi October 24, 2014 at 7:18 AM - Reply

      It’s funny – i love pesto, but I think my husband could even drizzle it over ice cream!

      • chefjulianna October 27, 2014 at 2:02 AM

        LOL! Must be a guy thing!

  8. chefceaser October 24, 2014 at 7:20 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  9. dianeskitchentable October 24, 2014 at 12:10 PM - Reply

    Looks wonderful Mimi. I love butternut squash & just made a butternut squash soup that’s perfect for the weather we’ve been having here in Massachusetts. That filet sitting next to the squash looks mouth watering too.

    • chef mimi October 24, 2014 at 6:15 PM - Reply

      Butternut squash soups are fabulous!!!

  10. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome October 24, 2014 at 12:36 PM - Reply

    Looks delicious! I’m going to have give your technique a try.

  11. Choc Chip Uru October 24, 2014 at 2:14 PM - Reply

    Wow this is an awesome way to roast squash, I wonder what it would taste like in a lasagne? Delicious :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  12. DellaCucinaPovera October 26, 2014 at 4:44 AM - Reply

    It’s breakfast time here in Amsterdam and I’m already wishing for dinner. Looks delicious!

  13. Mama's Gotta Bake October 26, 2014 at 1:07 PM - Reply

    I love the combination of pesto with squash, a great autumn dish!

  14. eliotthecat October 27, 2014 at 6:03 AM - Reply

    I was amazed how quick the pumpkin went this year….who knew? Am loving ally the winter squash recipes you are posting.

    • chef mimi October 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM - Reply

      Thanks. I think I was looking for pumpkins in November last year and discovered that they quit selling them after Halloween. Seems so silly – especially for sugar pumpkins.

  15. deliciouscityliving October 27, 2014 at 7:57 PM - Reply

    Wow this sounds so good. I have been looking for some new squash recipes. Thanks!

    • chef mimi October 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM - Reply

      This one’s nice and savory!

      • deliciouscityliving October 27, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        Perfect! That’s exactly what I’m looking for! And I love pesto!

  16. mmmarzipan November 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM - Reply

    What an amazing idea- looks gorgeous too!!!

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