Roasted Butternut Squash with Pistachios, Brown Butter, and Rosemary

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pistachios, Brown Butter, and Rosemary
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Butternut squash, pistachios, brown butter, and rosemary
The best squash dish yet!

Long title for this recipe, which you might think makes for a long time at the stove. Well, no. This is a straightforward way to cook up squash — roasting — followed by a coating of a brown butter sauce. Not too bad, right? And, with the squash season starting, this could be beginning of a new tradition for the holiday table.

We found this recipe in Gjelina, by Travis Lott; well, not his exact recipe, but close enough to give him credit. We did make some changes: butternut squash instead of acorn, pistachios instead of hazelnuts, leaving out the 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice because we didn’t have any, roasting the squash slightly differently, then simmering the squash in the sauce instead of drizzling on top. Other than those changes, it’s pretty much the same. Oh, and no, we can’t pronounce Gjelina, either.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pistachios, Brown Butter, and Rosemary

Yield: 2-4 servings

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pistachios, Brown Butter, and Rosemary


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

Peel and dice squash into 1-inch cubes, discarding seeds. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and beginning to brown in spots, 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, place butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling often, until milk solids separate from butter and darken and the butterfat is brown in color and smells of caramel. Remove from heat and let cool.

Strain butter through a piece of muslin to remove and discard blackened milk solids. Return browned butter to a large clean skillet.

When squash pieces are done, heat butter over medium heat. Add pistachios, brown sugar, and salt to taste. Stir in rosemary and cook until fragrant and sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Add stock a little at a time and cook until you have a thickened sauce. Add squash and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Ingredient discussion:

With all the changes we made and mentioned above, it is obvious that this recipe is pretty flexible. Change out the nuts, the squash, and it’ll be pretty much the same, so use what is fresh and local in your area.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Although it’s not necessary, we recommend lining a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. The squash will roast the same, and it’ll make for easier clean up later.

peeling a butternut squash
Butternut squash is one of the easier squashes to prep. A vegetable peeler will take the skin off, then it’s chop, chop, chop.

Peel and dice squash. For butternut squash, we simply use a sharp vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Butternut isn’t as tough as some other squashes where you might have to use a sharp knife. Once peeled, dice the squash into pieces about 3/4 to an inch on a side. As you work, scoop out and discard the seeds.

roasting squash
We think a bit of oil, some salt and pepper, goes a long way to making roasted squash taste great.

Roast squash. Spread the squash pieces on the prepared sheet, give them a drizzle of oil, followed by a sprinkle of salt and pepper to start adding in flavor, and bake in the oven until tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 45-60 minutes.

browning butter
Browning butter is an essential skill for every cook. Just watch your butter closely while you work so that it doesn’t burn.

Brown butter. While the squash is roasting, let’s brown the butter. Place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and let it melt. After melting, it’ll become foamy, then the foaming will subside, and the milk solids will begin to darken. Pick up and swirl the butter around in the pan about every 10 to 15 seconds to keep the solids from settling on the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, the butterfat will become a nice toasty brown and smell delicious, somewhat like caramel. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

straining browned butter
The milk solids are bitter, so get them out of the butter by straining.

Strain. We have to get the milk solids out of the butter, so that means straining the butter. We place a small piece of butter muslin in a metal funnel (we learned that plastic funnels can melt) and pour the butter through. As it drains, give the skillet a quick washing, or at least wipe out the remaining milk solids with a paper towel. Return the strained butter to the now-clean pan.

making browned butter sauce
A few nuts, some brown sugar, and browned butter is the start of a great sauce.
cooking rosemary
The smell of rosemary while it cooks is one of the highlights of having a rosemary plant.

Make sauce. Once the squash is done, we can start on the sauce. It’s easy. Start warming up the browned butter over medium heat. Add the pistachios, brown sugar, and a bit of salt. Stir in the rosemary and cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves and everything smells fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

adding stock
The stock will add flavor; we used the liquid after reconstituting a few dried mushroom pieces.

Add stock. Add the stock a bit at a time and stir to incorporate. Once all the stock is added, cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened.

adding squash
Stir in the roasted squash, taste and season, and your dish is done.

Stir in squash. Add the squash to the sauce and stir until coated. If additional liquid was introduced from the squash, you might need to cook everything for a few minutes so the sauce thickens again.

Season and serve. Taste, sprinkle with salt and pepper as needed, and serve to rave reviews.

We love winter squash regardless of how it’s cooked. We think it’s good even if it’s simply baked with a bit of butter and salt and pepper, but squash made this way is great! Simply great! This has to be one of the best ways that we’ve ever had squash. The small amount of sweetness accents the natural sweetness of the squash, the nuts add an interesting texture, and the rosemary adds a nice savory taste. Then, the browned butter, with its caramel-nutty taste, ties everything together making for one delicious dish. This will be on our table for years to come. Five stars.

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