You like Kabocha, dontcha?

 

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I think a lot of people like to press the Shuffle button on their MP3 player to mix things up and hear a variety of songs. Not me. If I like a song, I’ll put in on Replay for-ev-er. Sometimes, I’ll listen to the same dang song like, 100 times before I move on to another.

Am I obsessive? Compulsive? My answer to that fluctuates. What is constant is my attachment to a good thing once I find it. This is how I am now with Kabocha pumpkin. Kabocha muffins for breakfast. Kabocha soup for lunch. Kabocha-stuffed pasta for dinner. How ’bout Kabocha pumpkin pie, anyone?

It was the same with Butternut squash a while back. And there was that winter-long fling with Meyer lemons – which, late at night, I still think of. Oh, and let’s not forget my fixation with pomelos.

Nowadays, my fancy turns to Kabocha. Can you blame me? Kabocha, with its deep, emerald skin flushed against this intense, orange flesh is like Butternut’s sexier, curvier, non-surgically altered and intellectually superior cousin. And, it doesn’t need a ton of makeup to look good, either. I mean, who would you rather go home with???

That’s what I thought. So next time you’re at the market, look out for Kabocha. Cook responsibly.

 

Soupe au Potiron – Kabocha pumpkin bisque

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INGREDIENTS: (4-6 servings)

  • 1 medium-sized Kabocha pumpkin (approx 3-4lbs)
  • 1 Tbl. of canola oil + more for coating pumpkin
  • 3 medium shallots, finely diced
  • chubby piece of ginger (approx 1 inch length), peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground star anise + a tiny pinch for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground cassia cinnamon + a tiny pinch for sprinkling
  • 1 quart of homemade or quality store-bought chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup half & half or whole cream
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper

STEPS:

  • Cut the Kabocha pumpkin in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Rub the cut sides with oil and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of the star anise and cinnamon. Place the pumpkin, cut-side down on a foil/parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • In an oven preheated to 350F, roast the pumpkin for about 35 minutes (or until a knife can be inserted with little resistance).
  • Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. Then scoop out the flesh.
  • Meanwhile, set a large saucepan to med heat, add the oil.
  • Next, add the shallot and ginger. Cook (sweat) the shallots and ginger until the shallots are softened and translucent, being careful not to add too much color.
  • Add the cooked pumpkin and spices and cook for another minute.
  • Add the chicken stock and stir to combine and heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Using an immersion blender or regular blender, purée the soup until smooth.*
  • Stir the cream into the soup.
  • Check seasoning again and add more S+P if necessary. Serve warm.

*If you use a regular blender, please use extreme caution as the hot liquid will explode everywhere if you try to blend too much at a time. Fill only up to 1/3 of the blender at a time. Bon appétit!

 

Quick Tortellini with Kabocha

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INGREDIENTS: (6 servings)

note: the first few ingredients + steps here are very similar to the soup recipe above.

  • 1 medium-sized Kabocha pumpkin (approx 3-4lbs)
  • canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground star anise + a tiny pinch for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground cassia cinnamon + a tiny pinch for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp each, salt + pepper
  • 1 pkg. square wonton wrappers
  • Egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. milk)

STEPS:

  • Cut the Kabocha pumpkin in half lengthwise and rub the cut sides with oil and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of the ground star anise and cinnamon. Place the pumpkin, cut-side down on a foil/parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • In an oven preheated to 350F, roast the pumpkin for about 35 minutes (or until a knife can be inserted with little resistance).
  • Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. Then scoop out the pumpkin flesh.
  • In a bowl, mix the star anise + cinnamon+ salt+pepper with the pumpkin.
  • Place 1 tsp. of pumpkin mixture onto each wonton wrapper.
  • With your index finger (or a pastry brush), brush two adjoining edges of the wrapper and fold in half to seal the edges (make sure to press all the bubbles out. It should now be a triangle.
  • Next, bring the two points along the longer edge of the triangle together and seal with more egg wash. It should look the Pope’s hat :)
  • Take the top point (the tip of the “hat”) and flip it down. You should now have something that resembles a belly button. *
  • Boil the tortellini for 3-4 minutes and drain. Toss with brown butter/sage sauce or with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

*Stories about the origins of this pasta exist in many forms. One that I like is about Venus and Jupiter arriving at a tavern late one night. After eating and drinking, they opt to share a room. The innkeeper tried to peep in on them but could only see her navel. Spellbound, he went to the kitchen and created tortellini in that image. ** Imagine if she had worn her belly piercing…

Alors, Bon appétit!

**Source: Wikipedia

Kabocha Pumpkin Muffins

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INGREDIENTS: (12 muffins)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, preferably King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground star anise
  • 1 tsp. ground cassia cinnamon
  • 1 stick (8 Tbl.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (no imitation vanilla, please)
  • 3/4 cup cooked kabocha pumpkin, smashed or puréed
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, for topping

STEPS:

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400F.
  • Butter the muffin pans.
  • Whisk dry ingredients (flour+baking soda+salt+star anise+cinnamon) in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  • With a mixer, beat butter until soft. Add both sugars and beat until light and smooth.
  • Add eggs, one by one, making sure to fully incorporate each one before adding the next.
  • Add the vanilla and combine.
  • On low, mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
  • Stir in the raisins and nuts.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle sunflower seeds over the tops of the muffins.
  • Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove and finish cooling on a rack.

- Adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan, in Baking: From My Home to Yours, which can be found here.

Bon appétit!

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11 Responses to “You like Kabocha, dontcha?”

  1. Natalie Says:

    Ohhh laaa laaaa….j’adore Kabocha. Great post – thanks for the inspiration and great recipes! I’ve seen a recipe for a roasted kabocha cheesecake the other day and I can’t wait to try it.

    Love your blog. Love the photography. Love your writing. Looking forward to reading about your culinary adventures.

    Bonne Chance!

  2. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy Says:

    Yum!!! I have seen kabocha here in Italy but have usually stuck to the safer, more familiar butternut squash. Thanks for THREE!! recipes…I’m going to pick one up now. :)

  3. Anh Says:

    Pretty presentation! Your food looks really delicious!

  4. holybasil Says:

    Salut Natalie!
    Thank you for your kind words. Kabocha cheesecake sounds delicieux. Let me know how that goes.

    Ciao Sara!
    How nice that you have Kabocha in Italy. Man, you guys have it all there, don’t you?

    Chào Anh :) Cám ơn rất nhiều!

  5. jen Says:

    mmm…we ate a LOT of kabocha growing up. it reminds me of my bachans!!

  6. Sindy Says:

    I have been on a quest for a recipe for a Roasted Pumpking soup I had on a cruise years ago. Yours sounds wonderful. This soup also had curry. What do you think about adding curry to your combination of spices?

  7. holybasil Says:

    Hi Jen!
    Lucky you guys!

    Sindy!
    I’ve actually made it with curry spices before. I add 1 tsp of curry powder (replacing the other spices) along with the shallots into the pan. I don’t add more than that as I think too much can overpower the pumpkin flavor. You could also use coconut milk instead of the cream for a nice variation as well. Hope it goes well!

  8. Lil John Says:

    I’ve finally made it on the website, a picture of me that is. And it is of my back carrying a bag of apples. I want to taste all those apples dishes.

  9. lydia Says:

    I picked some kabocha from my yard today. We thought they were pumpkins gone wrong! Then we saw the same thing in the Asian market and looked it up. We found your recipes and I can’t wait to try them! Thanks -lydia

  10. ecosiembra Says:

    I need información about the kabocha plantattion. ER

  11. toni Says:

    It’s great to have a new way to cook my favorite pumpkin. The soup recipe is wonderful. I’ve been looking for a pumpkin soup recipe that included ginger for a long time, after having a wonderful bowl of it on Maui. Thank you.


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