September 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm
by Megan Bingham
Inside the kabocha’s streaked forest green skin is sweet, orange-yellow flesh perfect for roasting, steaming and braising. This Japanese winter squash tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and a sugar pumpkin, lending itself to both sweet and savory dishes. Choose kabochas that are deep in color and have a hard rind.
Recipe for Kabocha Squash Crostini
Makes 24 crostini
Prep 15 minutes
Roast at 450° for 20 minutes
Fry 1 minute
• Toss 4 cups peeled, seeded kabocha squash pieces (3/4 inch, from a 2 to 3 lb squash) with 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Roast at 450° for 18 to 20 minutes or until tender, flipping once. Set aside. In a bowl, blend 1 cup ricotta cheese and ¼ tsp salt.
• Heat ½ cup olive oil in a small heavy-bottomed sauté pan until shimmering. Fry 24 sage leaves in 3 batches for 20 seconds per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt.
• Spread ricotta on twenty-four 1/2-inch-thick toasted baguette slices. Scatter a few squash pieces on top of each, drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze (such as Bertolli) and garnish with fried sage.
Tip for Cooking Kabocha Seeds:
Roast kabocha seeds just as you would a pumpkin’s: Place rinsed and drained seeds on an oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 325° for 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
Megan Bingham is health/food editorial assistant at Family Circle magazine.