Radicchio with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, Mozzarella and Herby Vinaigrette

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. 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 andbitter.

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Radicchio with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, Mozzarella and Herby Vinaigrette

  • 1 head radicchio (leaves separated and torn in half, washed and dried)
  • 1 small butternut squash (peeled with a vegetable peeler)
  • 1/2 cup plus more extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
  • Handful walnuts
  • Handful fresh herbs like parsley (cilantro & chives, coarsely chopped)
  • A tablespoon or so Sherry vinegar
  • High quality walnut oil if you have it (otherwise olive oil is great)
  • 1 ball best Mozzarella cheese you can find (torn into pieces)
  1. Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 400°. Slice in half and scoop out seeds. Dice squash into large cubes and toss in a bowl with a good glug olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss well to coat all the cubes and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 min. or so until squash is tender and edges are starting to brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Walnuts: turn oven down to 350°. Put walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 or so minutes, until walnuts are toasted, being very careful not to burn. Remove, coarsely chop and set aside.
  3. Dressing: Add chopped herbs to a bowl with Sherry vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Drizzle in a scant tablespoon walnut oil if you are using it and whisk vigorously. Drizzle in olive oil (probably about 1/2 cup or a little more- you’ll have dressing left over), whisking continuously until you have desired consistency. Taste and add more olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  4. Assemble: Add radicchio leaves to a salad bowl. Toss with butternut squash, walnuts, and mozzarella. Add just enough dressing to coat all the ingredients, toss well, taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Adapted from Simply Recipes