Does the thought of a long cooking time scare you off from buying those alluring, yet intimidatingly hard winter squash? Don’t let it keep you away any longer. I find the small, green Kabocha to be especially friendly — quick to cook, rich and creamy without being too sweet or too bitter…just right. Toss a couple into your market basket with confidence and make yourself some good for you comfort food.
They key is to prepare the squash when you do have some time, especially when you already have the oven heated up for something else. Once the squash is cooked, you can use it anytime up to 3 or 4 days later. Cooked squash in the fridge can turn into a creamy squash soup, squash stuffed with chestnuts and farro, or simple carmelized squash slices, in no time.
serves 2 – 4
1 Kabocha squash, rinsed with water
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the stem end off the squash with a sharp chef’s knife. Microwave the squash for 30-60 seconds to soften slightly, then cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds.
2. Place each squash half, cut side down, in a glass or ceramic baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until tender. Season and serve (see Kitchen Coach tips below) or let cool and store in refrigerator until ready to eat another time or use in a recipe.
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips
- Kabocha squash falls somewhere between the acorn and butternut squashes in terms of sweetness level. It also cooks a bit more rapidly due to its softer texture. It is great pureed in soups or left in halves and stuffed with a whole grain melange, like wild rice or farro mixed with toasted nuts.
- Whenever you are using the oven to roast a chicken or something else that takes some time, pop in a squash so that you can have it roasted and ready to use — either that same night or 3 – 4 nights down the road. Meals almost make themselves if you have the component parts made in advance and waiting in the fridge.
- My favorite way to enjoy the Kabocha this week has been to brown some butter, add a cup of cooked farro, some sage and cook until the farro is hot. I warm up a squash piece then fill with the farro and top with a few crumbles of sheep milk feta and some sea salt. Toasted pine nuts or pecans are gilding the lily, but do take a simple but great dish to fabulous. Have fun winging it.