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Buttered nut squash from In Praise of Veg

Servings: 4
You know what I love more than a play on words? Burnt butter – or beurre noisette, if you’re fancy. As the butter’s milk solids cook in the pan, your whole kitchen will fill with the most delicious nutty aromas – and you’ll know it’s ready when that scent gives off baked-cookie vibes. Although sage is a classic herb to splice through beurre noisette, this recipe is more about the balance of sweet/ crunch/herb/salty to get too precious about how you get there. Feel free to get creative: if you have other nuts, go for it; try another soft herb if sage doesn’t float your boat – and even anchovies instead of olives would be a great addition. It wouldn’t even bother me if you subbed the butter out for olive oil and turned the recipe fully plant-based – just don’t go trying to make ‘burnt oil’ sauce … instead, follow the ‘double duty’ instructions below and roast your squashed bits alongside the squash.


  • 1 butternut pumpkin (squash)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar muscovado is my fave here
  • 1 tsp salt flakes
  • cup olive oil plus an extra 1 teaspoon
  • oz macadamia nuts
  • 1 handful of fresh sage leaves plus extra to garnish
  • oz butter
  • oz kalamata olives, unpitted


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), with a baking tray inside.
  • To slice the pumpkin in half, insert a sharp knife through the middle along one side, spin the pumpkin over without removing the knife, then slice through the other side. Scoop the seeds out. Use a pumpkin hollow as a bowl to make a paste with the sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then rub into the pumpkin halves.
  • Pull the hot baking tray out and carefully line the base with a sheet of baking paper. Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of olive oil across the middle of the baking tray and lay the pumpkin halves, face side down, across the oily bits. Transfer to the oven and roast for 40–50 minutes, until a fork can be poked through the top of the skin.
  • With 15 minutes to go, wrap the macadamia nuts in a clean tea towel. Use a rolling pin, pestle or bottom of a bottle to crush the nuts up a bit.
  • Tip the crushed nuts into a cold frying pan. Add the butter and remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and place over medium heat. Squash the olives between your thumb and forefinger to split them in half and pop out the pits. Toss the pitted olives and the sage into the butter mixture and gently sizzle for about 2–3 minutes, until the butter has turned as nut-brown as the nuts.
  • When the pumpkin is ready, pile the nut mixture into the pumpkin hollows, drizzling any left-over buttery sauce around the pumpkin. Garnish with extra sage, season and serve.


Roast the pumpkin a day ahead and reheat in a 180°C (350°F) oven while the nuts cook. You’ll have a dramatic vego roast on the table in about 10 minutes flat.
Double duty
For an easy appetiser, toss the olives and macadamias in a small ovenproof dish with a glug of olive oil and roast for 8–10 minutes at 200°C (400°F).

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