Photos: Enrique Gili
Housebound? Kitchen projects can be a welcome distraction during cold weather. If you must be stuck indoors, cooking a hot meal will get you moving — plus running the oven is a surefire way to stay warm.
Rather than laze about, expend some time and energy cooking winter squash, which comes with its own set of challenges. The tough skin and fibrous interior need to be processed, in much the same way that hunters dress game, or anglers gut fish. (When you're wrist deep in the body cavity, scraping out stringy pulp, the analogy to wild game makes a lot of sense.) Your hard work cutting open and removing the gooey bits will be worth it to savor the flavor of this fleshy edible.
Kabocha, an Asian variety of winter squash, is a good candidate for this treatment because kabocha lends itself to a lot of recipes. The flesh can be pan-fried or roasted to the point of caramelization. Yum!
Prep time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: Feeds 4
Winter Squash Casserole
Equipment you'll need
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- 2 baking sheets
- 2 mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon
- 4 lbs. organic kabocha squash, halved
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 6 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped fine
- 1 medium-sized lemon, zested
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper, divided
- 1/3 cup light olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place newspaper on kitchen counter. Using a sharp knife, remove top vine by making a deep circular incision. Scrape away seeds and pulp with rounded edge of spoon. Cut squash in two, setting half aside. If the squash is tough and resists cutting, remove seeds, add 2 oz. of hot water to cavity, cap with top vine and microwave for 4 minutes, long enough to soften without cooking.
- Cut first half into wedges approximately 1/2 inch thick and three inches long, about 10 minutes.
- In small mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until well blended, about 1 minute.
- Place wedges in a second mixing bowl and combine with juice of half lemon and 2 tbs. olive oil. Fold until wedges are coated. Then roll wedges in breadcrumb mix until evenly coated, about 10 minutes. Place wedges on lightly greased baking sheet and set aside.
- On the remaining half of squash, brush skin and flesh with 2 tbs. olive oil and season flesh with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down on second baking sheet. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Place both baking sheets in the oven and cook 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip wedges, and cook until tender and flesh is easily cut. Remove wedges from oven and cut roasted squash into sections.
- Toss salad with any breadcrumb mix, lemon juice and olive oil that remains.