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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Lovely idea. Looks delicious!
If you love pesto and squash, yes, it’s pretty delicious!
I love this recipe, and really really like the pesto tip of not adding the cheese before using it.
Thanks so much!
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 :)
Thanks! Hope you like them!
I love this. Squashes are so delicious. The steak looks pretty tasty too.
They are wonderful, aren’t they?!!
The squash looks wonderful, I never would think of using pesto on that type of squash but I like the idea very much.
If you love pesto… it’s pretty good on anything!
Mmm, this looks wonderful, Mimi! My husband is crazy for pesto, so I am going to surprise him with this one day! Thanks!
It’s funny – i love pesto, but I think my husband could even drizzle it over ice cream!
LOL! Must be a guy thing!
Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.
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.
Butternut squash soups are fabulous!!!
Looks delicious! I’m going to have give your technique a try.
Simple roasting – lots of flavor!
Wow this is an awesome way to roast squash, I wonder what it would taste like in a lasagne? Delicious :D
Choc Chip Uru
It would be incredible!!!
It’s breakfast time here in Amsterdam and I’m already wishing for dinner. Looks delicious!
Hahaha! I know the feeling!
I love the combination of pesto with squash, a great autumn dish!
I was amazed how quick the pumpkin went this year….who knew? Am loving ally the winter squash recipes you are posting.
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.
Wow this sounds so good. I have been looking for some new squash recipes. Thanks!
This one’s nice and savory!
Perfect! That’s exactly what I’m looking for! And I love pesto!
What an amazing idea- looks gorgeous too!!!