Of all the edible gourds on riotous display at the Greenmarket, kabocha squash is one of the sweetest. Motorino chef-owner Mathieu Palombino exploits that flavor by roasting the dry-textured flesh, then garnishing it with a sticky balsamic reduction and shavings of salty cheese. Once you manage to peel off the plant’s tough skin with a sharp, sturdy knife, the recipe couldn’t be simpler.
Mathieu Palombino’s Roasted Kabocha Squash
1 kabocha squash, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/2 cup
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 bunch fresh oregano
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (1) Split the squash lengthwise, remove seeds and skin. Slice the squash into ½-inch-thick pieces. Place them in a large bowl. Add the garlic and half the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. (2) Toss until well coated. (3) Arrange squash on a sheet pan so that the pieces aren’t touching, and roast them for about 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and well browned on bottom. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then arrange on a plate. Drizzle with balsamic reduction, and shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or side.