Zucca in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Butternut Squash)

Zucca in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Butternut Squash)

Squash marinated in vinegar is prepared differently from region to region in Italy. In Sicily, an agrodolce (sweet and sour) marinade, along with thinly sliced garlic and fresh mint, enlivens the palate. Typically, the squash is pan-fried, but it works just as well baked in the oven, as done here. How much sugar you use depends on the zing of your vinegar and the sweetness of your tooth. Zucca in agrodolce is best served at room temperature, and it’s left to rest for just long enough so that the butternut squash soaks up the sweet and sour syrup. You can also make it a day in advance; just remember to it bring to room temperature before adding the final garnish of fresh mint and serving.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Place a rack in the center position of the oven and heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Step 2

    Peel the butternut squash. Cut the butternut squash in half across, then cut the halves in half lengthwise. Discard any seeds and slice each piece into 1/4-inch-thick half moons. Place the squash on a large sheet pan, drizzle with the oil and season well with about 1 teaspoon salt; season with black pepper to taste. Toss and spread out in a single layer. 
  3. Step 3

    Roast for 12 minutes, then flip the squash slices (using two forks works well) and continue to roast until cooked through (but not falling apart) and slightly golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes more. 
  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, add the vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, garlic slices and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan, then stir and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar fully dissolves and the mixture reduces to a slightly syrupy consistency, 6 to 8 minutes. Halfway through, taste the syrup and add more sugar, one tablespoon at a time, if desired. Remove from the heat. You should have about ¼ cup syrup.
  5. Step 5

    Place the butternut squash in a serving dish, tear half of the mint leaves and scatter over the squash. Drizzle the syrup over the squash. Depending on the size of your dish, you can create layers of squash, mint and syrup. Set aside at room temperature to marinate for at least 2 hours. As the squash cools, tip the dish a little to one side, spoon some syrup and drizzle it over the top of the squash. Repeat as often as you think to. Garnish with the remaining mint leaves and serve.