Here’s a wintery, festive side dish for your holiday table—cubes of butternut squash, along with wedges of radicchio and onion, tossed with salt and olive oil, and roasted in a hot oven until caramelized, then tossed again with toasted pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, parsley, and shredded Parmesan cheese. Wow. My tummy does a happy dance just thinking about making and eating this again. Radicchio is naturally a little bitter, but it loves being grilled or roasted, and it has a special affinity for balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese (see our grilled radicchio salad recipe). Combine those ingredients with the sweetness and substance of butternut squash and onions, and now your palate is firing on all levels – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Great alongside roast beef or prime rib, or as a vegetarian meal in and of itself.
Butternut squash can be tricky to cut. Check out our How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash for a step-by-step how-to.
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges through the root
- 1 head radicchio, cut into wedges through the root
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese to taste, about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup
- Balsamic vinegar to taste, about a tablespoon
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the squash chunks, onion and radicchio wedges in olive oil and salt them well. Arrange in one layer on baking sheets (you may need two) and put in the oven. Roast the vegetables until their edges are nicely caramelized, turning the radicchio and onion wedges over about halfway through the roasting. The radicchio, onion, and squash will roast at different speeds. So periodically you'll have to remove the finished vegetables and let the others remain in the oven to finish roasting. As a guideline, roast the radicchio for about 25 minutes, turning halfway. Roast the onions about 35 minutes, again, turning halfway. Roast the squash pieces for 45 minutes, but do not turn. In all cases do not remove from the oven until you see browning on the edges.
2 While the vegetables are roasting, toast the pine nuts. Heat a small pan on medium high heat. Add the pine nuts in a single layer. Cook until lightly toasted. Remove from heat to a bowl to keep the nuts from burning.
3 Once all the vegetables are cool enough to handle, roughly chop the radicchio and onion into manageable pieces. Place the radicchio, onion, and butternut squash in a large serving bowl. Add the pine nuts and parsley. Add black pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Stir gently to combine, taking care not to squish the soft roasted squash.
To serve, sprinkle with some grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese.