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Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage & Toasted Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Ricotta Salata

For the Roasted Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash peeled, and cut in to 3″-4″ “sticks” no more than 1″ thick
2 tablespoons of intense UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil such as Picual, Picholine, or Coratina
2 tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice White Balsamic
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the broiler or oven to 500 F. and adjust the rack to the the highest position in the oven.  Combine the oil and vinegar in a bowl large enough to hold the butternut squash.  Whisk to combine the oil and vinegar thoroughly.  Toss the butternut squash with the mixture and arrange the squash in a single layer on a shallow, lined baking sheet.  Liberally season the squash with salt and pepper.

Roast the squash for 10 minutes per side, flipping half way through, until the edges turn golden brown.

Toasted Pumpkin Seed & Sage Pesto
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup  + 1/4 cup shelled, toasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup super fruity Medium intensity UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil or an infused olive oil such as Mushroom Sage Olive Oil, Gremolata Olive Oil, or Garlic Olive Oil
1/3 cup + 1/3 cup ricotta salata, feta, or grated Pecorino can be used as a substitute
sea salt and pepper to taste

In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, add the sage leaves, 1/3 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and cheese.  Process until the paste is fine in consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Assemble
Arrange the butternut squash on a decorative platter.  (I built tall stacks with the butternut squash sticks). Drizzle the pesto all over the butternut squash, followed by the reserved toasted pumpkin seeds, and the reserved cheese.  Serve warm.

Serves 4-6  

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