caramelized butternut squash wedges with a sage hazelnut pesto

2 butternut squashes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped finely
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled ricotta salata

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place a rack in the lowest slot in the oven. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut each squash in half widthwise, right where the slender part curves out to the bulge. Cut each quarter into about 1-inch wedges and place in a bowl. Toss the squash with olive oil, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Place in a single layer on the baking sheets. Roast for 10-15 minutes until caramelized. Remove from the oven and flip each pice over. Then bake for another 10-15 minutes until caramelized on the other side.

While the squash is roasting, make the pesto: warm 2 tablespoons olive oil and sage in a small pan over very low heat, just until the oil bubbles. Then add the garlic and let heat for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a small bowl. Place the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and process to a fine crumble. Alternatively, you can chop by hand our grind with a mortar and pestle. Add to the bowl containing the oil, sage, and garlic. Add the cheese to the bowl, along with 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil, and stir until combined. Salt to taste. Once the squash is roasted, place in a large bowl and toss carefully with the pesto. Serve warm!

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