Roasted Butternut Squash- My First Thanksgiving Recipe Invention

I am definitely a new cook. Don’t get me wrong, I could sauté since I was 10, but I almost never did anything outside of the stove top until this last year. However, in this short year, I have been trying to really make up for lost time.  I’ve been constantly trying new things, often texting Maddie to make sure that I’m going to be doing it right or to run a recipe idea by her. Long story short: I really have tried to break out of my ‘I only make pasta’ shell.

In culmination and as a final exam, if you will, of this fabulous year of culinary exploration, I am making the entire Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Ambitious you might say, but I am determined and very stubborn, so bring it on.

This recipe is one of my own creation, I am proud to say, and is a really nice alternative to sweet potatoes. Butternut squash is just one of those things that goes with everything: You can make pasta out of it, put it in soups, roast it, use it for decoration, make an African rhythm instrument out of it…okay maybe I’m going a little far, but you get my point.  In this case, I decided to roast it, with some sautéed shallots, pecans, and best of all, sage. It’s truly that simple. Anyone can make this, and everyone will enjoy it.

dividerRoasted Butternut Squash Recipe

  • 3 Tbsp butter: 1.5 Tbsp to saute shallots, .5 to grease pan,  1 Tbsp for fried sage at the end
  • 4 shallots
  • 18 oz butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp loosely shredded sage leaves, plus a few extra whole leaves for frying at the end
  • 1 handful pecans
  • Small handful of Parmesan cheese

Serves 4 small side portions (for Thanksgiving, I will be doubling this recipe)

Preheat the oven to 375. Skin and slice shallots into small rounds. I like to keep mine a little on the larger side because you are going to saute and roast them. Tear or cut sage leaves into pieces and cut pecans in half.  Heavily grease a roasting pan (I used a 9×9) and place cubed squash in pan. Heat 1.5 Tbsp butter in a saute pan on medium, until just melted, then add the shallots. Sauté shallots until tender, turning over every 30 seconds or so with a spatula. When shallots are just tender and translucent, add sage and pecans.

Sauteed shallots, pecans, and sage

Sauteed shallots, pecans, and sage

The goal is just for the sage to flavor the contents of the pan, and the pecans to get lightly coated with butter. Add shallot mixture to squash and mix in the roasting pan. Place squash mixture in oven for about 20 minutes then remove and stir. Return to the oven for another ten minutes. Remove, stir if needed, and add Parmesan cheese–just a light sprinkling over the surface. Return to the oven one last time until a fork can pierce squash easily and it is very soft to the touch, about another 5 minutes.  Remove squash mixture from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Roasted squash

Roasted squash

Meanwhile, heat additional Tbsp butter (may need 2 Tbsp spoons depending on amount of sage) in pan on high heat, until it starts to bubble, add additional sage leafs and fry until just crispy and slightly brown.

Frying sage leaves

Frying sage leaves

Serve squash mixture with fried sage on top, and viola!

Roasted squash and pomegranate salad

Roasted squash and pomegranate salad

I added a little extra Parmesan, but I am a cheese addict, as you all already know. Pictured with a Pomegranate Spinach Salad I also came up with for Thanksgiving.

Leave a comment


  1. I’m going to be making squash this week too… but in a very different incarnation. Yes, I’m going to leave the readers in suspense. 😉

  2. chris

     /  November 7, 2011

    Sounds great!


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