Kabocha is a new favorite of mine, because it has an edible rind (once cooked); you don’t have to peel it. It is a variety of winter squash that’s become increasingly common sight in supermarkets and farmer’s markets. It is sweeter than butternut squash, with a firmer, less watery flesh.
- 1 large (or 2 small) Kabocha squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
FLAVOR PROFILE #1:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
FLAVOR PROFILE #2:
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Normally, I like to roast vegetables at an even higher temperature but with the coating of spices I like to put on these squash pieces, it will burn at the higher temperature before the squash gets browned and caramelized.
Prepare Kabocha squash by slicing off any hard stem, then cutting it in half (around the equator). Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from each half, then cut it into strips or pieces of 1 inch or less. Alternatively, you can just cut into 2 inch cubes.
In a large bowl, combine all of the squash pieces, together with olive oil and salt. Then choose one of the flavor profiles to best suit the dish you are accompanying: choose curry or middle-eastern flavors; warm flavors such as cinnamon, clove and ginger; or just roast with olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss well to coat each piece of squash before transferring to a sheet pan.
Bake in a hot oven for 30 to 45 minutes until the pieces are caramelized to your preference (I like them well browned). Remove and serve immediately, or this will hold on a buffet, at room temperature, for several hours.