Everyone loves roasted squash, but have you tried it with sage, hazelnuts and brown butter? These additions elevate a tasty side into a truly outstanding dish. It’s colourful too, so eminently suitable for the festive table, dinner parties or other celebratory occasions.
How To Make Brown Butter
Brown butter is a classic sauce which adds rich toasty nutty notes to any number of dishes. It’s well used in France where it’s known as beurre noisette. But don’t think it’s only good for savoury recipes; it works really well as an ingredient in baking too.
It’s basically butter that is cooked so that it splits in two. The solids sink to the bottom and turn brown and the butter oil takes on an amber hue. You can sieve out the solids and just use the browned clarified butter oil or use the whole lot together. Much of the flavour is held in the solids though, so most recipes use it all.
Brown butter is easy to make and only takes a few minutes. But you do need to take care not to burn it. Whilst brown butter is delicious, burnt butter most definitely isn’t.
Start with a goodly sized slab of unsalted butter. Place it in a pan over a medium heat and let it melt and sizzle. Swirl the pan from time to time so that the solids don’t get burnt on the bottom.
When the butter gives off a nutty aroma, the solids have turned brown and the oil is golden, take the pan off the heat. Your brown butter is done. This usually takes three to four minutes, but it really depends on how much butter you’re browning and how big the pan is.
Tin and Thyme Recipes Using Brown Butter
- Basbousa: an Egyptian semolina yoghurt cake
- Blackberry & apple spelt pancakes with brown buttered cobnuts
- Brown butter biscuits
- Brown butter cupcakes with jaggery and white chocolate
- Choc chip brown butter friands
Brown Butter Sauce with Sage and Hazelnuts
Brown butter and sage is a popular sauce for pasta. There’s something about sage which works particularly well with browned butter. Adding hazelnuts just makes that brown butter sauce even more special.
So you start by following the process for making brown butter, as written above. But as soon as the butter has melted, you need to add the hazelnuts so that they toast whilst the butter browns.
After one minute, add sliced sage leaves. When the butter is just starting to turn amber and form brown bits at the bottom of the pan, stir in the garlic. Cook for a further thirty seconds to a minute or until the butter and hazelnuts are nicely browned, but not burnt.
Brown butter and hazelnuts enhance the nutty tones inherent in squash and the earthy, slightly bitter notes of sage complement its sweetness. The garlic supports the other flavours and adds its own unique gorgeousness.
Roasted Squash with Sage and Hazelnuts in Brown Butter
Roasted squash has become one of the nation’s favourite side dishes in recent years. That’s probably because it’s so darned delicious. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness and nuttiness of squash and combined with the rich brown butter sauce, it’s irresistible.
Start by preparing the squash. If it’s a thin skinned squash, such as butternut, you won’t need to peel it. The peel will soften up during cooking and it’s perfectly good to eat. However, some squashes have really tough skin and that you will need to peel. A peeler probably won’t be strong enough, so it’s best to use a knife, but do be careful not to cut yourself.
Cut the squash in half or into quarters and remove the seeds and stringy bits with a metal spoon. Then chop the flesh into bite sized pieces. The smaller the pieces, the more caramelisation you’ll get.
Place the squash pieces into a large roasting tray. Drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and a good grinding of pepper. Toss the squash in the oil, so that every piece is coated. You can use your hands or a spoon to do this. Make sure there’s only a single layer of squash pieces. If they’re all piled up on top of each other, they will steam rather than roast.
Pop into a hot oven and roast. Half way through cooking, take the roasting pan out of the oven and give the squash a good stir. Place back in the oven and carry on the roasting process. The squash is done when it’s soft and the edges are beginning to caramelise.
Turn the roasted squash into a serving dish and pour the warm brown butter sauce with sage and hazelnuts over the top. What could be more delightful?
Roasted Squash with Breadcrumbs
For this particular dish, I like to add breadcrumbs during the last few moments of roasting. They give additional crunch, texture and flavour. They also soak up any residual oil and moisture. Just take the squash out of the oven when the pieces have begun to caramelise and stir in the crumbs so they stick to the squash. Breadcrumbs are optional but recommended.
Roasted Squash with Pasta
Instead of serving this roasted squash with sage and hazelnuts in brown butter as a side dish, why not try it with pasta? It turns everyday pasta into something a little more sophisticated. Just add a grating of vegetarian hard cheese.
What Sort of Squash is Best for Roasting?
Butternut squash is ideal as it’s generally easy to get hold of and you don’t need to peel the skin. However, any dense-fleshed flavoursome squash will create a most delicious dish. Uchiki kuri, delicata and crown prince are all excellent.
When choosing a squash, make sure it feels heavy. If it’s light, it’s probably old and will have started to dry out. This results in flesh that has lost its flavour and is rubbery or stringy rather than dense in texture.
How Long Does Squash Take to Roast?
The time it takes to roast squash will very much depend on what size pieces you have. For small cubes of about one centimetre squared, it will take about twenty minutes. For most purposes, such as this roasted squash with hazelnuts and sage brown butter, I prefer larger pieces.
Cubes of roughly two to three centimetres (one inch) dimension will take about forty minutes.
Other Squash Recipes You Might Like
- Almond & squash cake (gluten-free)
- Chard, squash, chilli & feta pasties
- Pumpkin cake with orange & spices
- Quinoa bowl with roasted squash & broccoli
- Squash & red pepper soup
- Squash, walnut & goat’s cheese pizza
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make roasted squash with sage and hazelnuts in brown butter, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more side dish recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Roasted Squash with Sage and Hazelnuts in Brown Butter – The Recipe
Roasted Squash with Sage and Hazelnuts in Brown Butter
- 1 medium-sized flavoursome squash – chopped into bite sized cubes (I used butternut squash)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- good grinding of black pepper
- 50 g wholemeal breadcrumbs (optional)
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 50 g hazelnuts – roughly chopped
- 12 sage leaves – thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic – grated or crushed
- Heat the oven to 200℃ (400℉, Gas 6).
- No need to peel the squash if it's a butternut. The skin is quite thin and will soften on roasting. Just top and tail it, cut it in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Tougher skinned winter squashes will need to be peeled. Chop the flesh into bite sized cubes – about 2-3 cm (one inch).
- Place them in a large roasting tray so that they form a single layer.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the top, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Give a good stir so that the squash cubes are coated with oil.
- Roast for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven, give a good stir and place back in the oven. Roast for a further twenty minutes. By this time the squash should be soft and starting to caramelise around the edges.
- Remove from the oven, add the breadcrumbs (if using) and toss the cubes to coat. Place back in the oven for a further eight minutes. If not using the breadcrumbs, continue to roast for a further five minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Add the hazelnuts and turn the heat up to medium. Cook for a minute, then add the sage. When the butter is just starting to turn amber and form brown bits at the bottom of the pan, stir in the garlic. Cook for a further thirty seconds to a minute. The butter should be nicely browned, but not burnt.
- Transfer the squash onto a serving plate and pour the brown buttered hazelnuts and sage over the top.
I’m sharing this recipe for roasted butternut squash with Recipes Made Easy for #CookBlogShare.