I’m very lucky to have a large Asian market that is on the way to the big supermarket where I usually shop. I can head out shopping and come home with just about any ingredient you could ask for. The Asian market is a bit dangerous for the budget, though, as I can’t resist picking up a new condiment (especially a spicy one) or a new-to-me fruit or vegetable on each trip. Earlier this summer, I came home with a beautiful green kabocha squash, also known as a Japanese pumpkin. It sat on my kitchen window sill for a month while I contemplated what to do with it. Finally I roasted it and used half of it in some risotto, and froze the rest. The risotto recipe needs some tweaking, but the pasta I made from the rest of the squash is a keeper.
Kabocha squash tastes a lot like North American pumpkin. It might even be a bit sweeter.The texture is amazing. I’m definitely picking up more of these in the future.
I’m sending this over to Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Helen of Fuss Free Flavors. Also, I’m linking this up with Hearth ‘n’ Soul, Meatless Mondays and Vegan Mondays.
Rigatoni with Kabocha Squash-Sage-Walnut Sauce
This recipe only uses half the squash. You can double this or freeze the remaining squash; it’s good in risotto or any recipe calling for pumpkin. One you’ve roasted the squash, the rest of the recipe goes together very quickly.
8 oz. rigatoni
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon miso (any kind – I used red miso)
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2-3/4 cup pasta cooking water
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
1/2 of a roasted kabocha squash (from a 3-1/2 lb./1.6 kg squash, see note)
Cook rigatoni according to package directions.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté the garlic for a minute or two. Stir miso and sage into 1/2 cup hot water from cooking the pasta. Add to the skillet with the walnuts and squash. Heat through on medium-low heat.
Drain pasta and add to the squash mixture. Add more hot water if necessary. Serve topped with a few big walnut pieces.
*To roast the squash, first preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the squash in half through the top, then cut each half in two pieces. Alternating between a serrated knife and a large chef’s knife will make this easier. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Brush the insides with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fork-tender, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool a bit, then peel and dice into 1-1/2 inch cubes.