Maple Glazed Hasselback Butternut Squash with Herbed Feta Crumble

Tender butternut squash, sweet caramelized maple syrup, and salty feta hits every single one of my favorite flavor notes in this showstopper of a dish!  I prepped this recipe for my TODAY Show segment this week along with an equally fab chile-maple marinated steak, but time was tight so unfortunately we didn't get to it on the air. But this baby is way too delicious to stay hidden, so here it is!!
Full disclosure: making this squash takes some time. You have to take the squash in and out of the oven a couple times, and the knife work can be a bit finicky and tedious though I promise you don't need any special skills (unless you count patience!).

The trick to cutting the squash is to use some wooden cake dowels, chopsticks, wooden spoons, or even just a dinner knife to act as a guard as you make each cut. Roasting it for about 15 minutes before you start cutting makes it even easier (you can skip that step if you'd like, but it'll require a bit more muscle--you've been warned!)

The herbed feta crumble I serve on top is also one of my favorite things--make a batch of it and serve it over roasted veggies, quinoa, as a garnish on soup, on salads, or even just with a bowl of chips as a fun dip!

This glazed and roasted squash is tasty and filling enough to stand alone as a vegetarian entrée, or serve it alongside your favorite protein during your next dinner party. (Oh man and if you really don't want to bother with all the hasselback-ing, you can just cut the squash into chunk and roast it that way--just don't skip the glaze and the feta!

P.S. If you like this recipe, you  should try out my Chipotle Maple Butternut Squash Soup. It takes minutes to make (all in one pot!) and is perfect for both weeknight meals and as a starter course for dinner parties. Get the recipe here

Maple Glazed Hasselback Butternut Squash with Herbed Feta Crumble
Serves 8

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes

1 butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

For the feta herb crumble:
1/3 pound feta cheese, drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
4 large sage leaves, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut squash in half lengthwise to make two long halves. Scoop out the seeds and peel the skin of the outside. Rub all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place squash halves cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast about 15 - 20 minutes, just until the squash begins to soften (test by inserting a paring knife into the squash—it should go in slightly, but not slide in all the way).

Remove from oven and let cool slightly before transferring to a cutting board. Use a knife to cut crosswise slits ¼” apart along the length of the squash halves, cutting as deep as you can without slicing all the way through. (TIP: place dinner knives, chopsticks or cake dowels on each of the long sides of the squash to stop the knife before it hits the cutting board.)

Return the squash halves to the baking sheet, scored side up. Drizzle with olive oil, letting the oil fall into the slits. Roast for another 20 minutes.

While the squash is in the oven, prepare the maple glaze. Combine the maple syrup, butter, and nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Let cook about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

Pour half the glaze over the squash and continue roasting for a final 20 – 30 minutes, checking it every ten minutes, until the squash is very tender and the glaze has caramelized. Let cool on pan for a few minutes, then gently transfer the squash to a serving platter. Drizzle with the reserved glaze.

Make the herbed feta crumble: Use your hands to crumble the feta into a medium sized bowl. Add the dried oregano, minced parsley, sage, thyme leaves (discard stems), lemon zest, and several generous cracks of black pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil (no more than a teaspoon or two). Toss to coat.
Top the butternut squash with the herbed feta crumble and serve.

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