I have a favorite type of squash. Is that weird? It's the Kabocha variety, which is a small Japanese winter squash. I think they're cute, and more importantly I also think they're delicious!
Kabocha is wonderful when pureed with sage and served over pasta. It's simple, rustic, and perfectly fall. This dish is inspired by one that family friends served when hosting us for dinner at their farm in Ohio. They introduced me to this dish years ago, but it has lived on in my memory and I've worked to recreate it ever since. Our friends have the good fortune to be able to walk out into their expansive garden and select a squash, but I picked these beauties up from Sparrowbush Farm at the Hudson Farmers Market. Read on for the recipe and my tips for cooking with this squash.
Cutting this squash in half was tricky. I ended up recruiting extra muscle to split it open (thanks, honey!).
How great does that bundle of sage look? Also, I tossed the (cleaned) squash seeds with a pinch of salt and roasted at 275° F for 15 minutes after taking the squash out of the oven. The seeds make a great snack and salad topping.
Mmm all that yummy sage. Our kitchen smelled so good while preparing this dish. Doug and I both consider sage (along with rosemary) to among the herbs and spices that we just can't get enough of.
If you look at the photo above, you can just barely make out the steam rising off the squash, fresh out of the roasting pan.
I enjoyed some great golden hour rays while making this dish for dinner.
Pureed Squash with Sage
- 1-2 small winter squashes
- 1 bunch sage
- Olive oil (and/or butter)
- Hard Italian cheese, grated (I used Pecorino Romano here)
- Fresh pasta (I like something substantial, such fettuccine or pappardelle)
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- Halve squash and scoop out seeds (I reserve the seeds to roast separately. I love snacking on them!)
- Add squash, cut side down, to a roasting pan filled with an inch of water; roast for 35-40 minutes, until squash is thoroughly cooked but still firm
- While squash cooks, roughly chop 1/4 cup sage and reserve a few sprigs for garnish (can add more or less depending on your preference - we like to be pretty heavy handed with sage)
- Allow squash to cool, then remove skin and roughly cube
- Puree the squash, adding 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Puree until smooth but stop before the squash becomes soupy - you want it to have body for serving atop the pasta
- Add chopped sage and, if desired, additional butter or oil
- Spoon over freshly cooked pasta, and top with grated cheese
- This pureed squash with sage also makes a delicious side dish.
- I use a Cuisinart food processor to puree the squash (of course), and it still requires patience. I taste test as I go, to determine how much salt, sage, and butter or oil (for creaminess) to add.
- My absolute favorite way to enjoy this dish is over homemade pasta, but realistically I don't have time to make it from scratch. Buying fresh pasta (rather than dried) is a good alternative when making this dish.