Provencal RecipesSaladSide DishStarter CourseStephanie VillegasTaste

A Seared Butternut Squash Recipe that is Perfect for Cool Weather

In Provence, a sure sign of the changing seasons is the new varieties of produce in the grocery store. While it is not a wholesale change from one week to the next, regionally grown tomatoes are no longer prominent. Instead, apples, pears, green beans, mushrooms, carrots and colourful squash take the vegetable stage. My recipe for Seared Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic Ricotta and Walnut Crumble is from the Atelier Laurel cooking school in Fontvieille, where I offer small cooking classes for a maximum of six (6) people.

Easy to make and delicious, serving this dish as soon as you have taken the squash out of the skillet is best. This squash recipe is suitable for vegetarians. You can replace the ricotta with white beans or vegan cheese for vegans.

Seared Butternut Squash Recipe with Garlic Ricotta and Walnut Crumble

Seared Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic Ricotta and Walnut Crumble

Stephanie Villegas
This recipe is easy to prepare and can be served as a starter course, side dish, or a warm salad with some additional greens.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish, Starter Course
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people


  • 2 medium Butternut Squash peeled and chopped into wedges/half moons (about 1 in./ 2 cm thick)
  • 2 small containers of Fresh Ricotta
  • 1 bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs of Fresh Thyme leaves plucked and chopped (or 10 Chive stems, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Walnuts roughly chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves roasted
  • 1 Lemon for zest and juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fleur de Sel to finish the dish


  • Fill a large stockpot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Peel the butternut squash and chop it into 2-inch cubes.
  • Boil the squash for 10-12 minutes until tender and drain. Lay on paper towels in a single layer to dry out.
  • In a bowl, blender or using a small food processor, blend the ricotta, half of the parsley, one (1) tablespoon thyme/chives, roasted garlic cloves and a few glugs of olive oil to a smooth puree. Taste and season with lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This will be the “bed” of the dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the roasted walnuts with chopped parsley, thyme, fleur de sel and a bit of olive oil to create a crunchy topping.
  • In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over med-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil until shimmering but not smoking
  • Add squash to the skillet and sautée until golden brown on the largest sides. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • On warm plates, serve a few tablespoons of the herbed ricotta and create a bed/nest for the squash. Add the squash on top and garnish with walnut crumble, more fresh herbs, and a glug of olive oil. Enjoy immediately.
Keyword Butternut Squash, Fall Recipe, Squash
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Try this delicious 3-course menu if you want culinary inspiration for warmer weather. The menu is ideally suited for entertaining using fresh, seasonal ingredients and requires minimal cooking.

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Stephanie Villegas

Stephanie Villegas

Born in San Francisco, California, Stephanie Villegas is a chef working and living in Provence. After a decade-long career in tech, Stephanie decided to follow her culinary passions and become a chef. She earned her culinary diploma at France's esteemed Ferrandi Paris and has worked in renowned restaurant kitchens from Paris to Provence. In 2022, she opened Laurel, a cooking school and private chef service located in the charming provençal village of Fontvieille.

With a mission to bring people closer together through food, her focus is on freshness and seasonality. As a Mexican-American, married to a Frenchman, living in Provence, you can be sure to find inspirations from around the world in her dishes.

On her table, you'll find ingredients you know, discover new ones and enjoy generous dishes of refined simplicity.

Explore Laurel here.

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