Give yourself 15 minutes for the careful cutting and prepping of the pumpkin, but once that is done, it really does look after itself. You can make the butter days ahead and keep it covered in the fridge.
half a large butternut pumpkin (halved lengthways)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to season
80g butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs (such as dill, parsley, coriander and chives)
1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced (190C conventional).
2. Add all the butter ingredients to a small bowl and use a fork to mash until incorporated. If preparing in advance, cover and place in the fridge. Otherwise set aside in a cool spot until ready to baste the pumpkin.
3. Using a sharp knife, trim the butternut of any skin, trying to keep the shape as much as possible. Gently scoop out the seeds and reserve for another use.
4. Place the pumpkin flat-side-down on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Using the same knife, make incisions into the pumpkin widthways, about 0.5cm apart. Work carefully, you want to cut ¾ of the way through the pumpkin – imagine a Hasselback potato on a larger scale. Drizzle the olive oil over and give it a light seasoning of salt. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Working quickly, remove the tray and add the softened butter, using a pastry brush to baste the pumpkin and push the butter into the crevices that have opened up between the slices.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional) and roast for another 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin has cooked through but is holding its shape, and the top has taken on a lovely golden caramel colour. Season generously with salt and pepper and additional parmesan. Best eaten piping hot.