Kabocha is one of the best winter squashes to cook at home because it’s not overly sweet—a bit like a sweet potato— and you don’t have to peel it. In our two-step cooking method, you halve the squash and roast it, then cut the roasted halves into wedges and brown them in a sauté pan. It’s a cheffy technique that’s worth the extra effort because every piece turns out perfectly cooked, moist inside, and evenly browned. Squash usually needs a little extra textural love. Here, we go with toasted pepitas and pomegranate seeds for a nutty crunch and juicy pop. And to round it all out, we finish the plate with rosemary brown butter, smoky Espelette pepper, flaky salt, and fresh mint.
This is one of our fall buffet stars, and we love to serve it family-style as part of a Thanksgiving or holiday spread.
Put 2 tablespoons butter and the squash wedges in a large sauté pan. Season the squash with an additional 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Place over medium heat and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Flip the squash pieces and cook for 4 minutes longer, until the second side is golden. Transfer the squash to a platter.
Discard any butter in the pan, wipe out the pan with a paper towel, place the pan over medium heat, and immediately add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the rosemary. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter is brown and fragrant and rosemary is crispy.
Pour the rosemary brown butter over the squash and garnish with the pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with the Espelette pepper and Maldon salt, top with the mint, and serve immediately.
We grow all kinds of beautiful squash and pumpkins, and we loan them out to our staff, friends, and families to use as ornaments during the holiday season. Then we re-collect them and cook them! There’s a strategy behind this. Curing winter squash at cool room temperature for a few weeks develops their sugars. The thicker the skin, the longer the squash will last, so use tender squash like delicata first and hardier types like kabocha last. —Tucker Taylor, Director of Culinary Gardens for Kendall-Jackson