Kick Off 2012 with Parties That Cook’s Winter Salad Recipe: Roasted Kabocha Squash and Arugala

Okay. Okay. So you told all your friends you were going to get healthy/give up junk-food/give up meat/start cooking more/eat out less. No need to panic. We know there’s a lot on your plate, and we trust that none of it is a super-sized order of fries (you opted for small, right?!). That’s exactly why we’re bringing you this super simple recipe for Roasted Kabocha Squash and Arugala Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts! Yes, salad in the winter.

Kabocha Squash (not kombucha) is a winter squash, sweeter than butternut squash and actually rivaling the flavors of pumpkin and sweet potatoes. The light vinaigrette and the maple syrup drizzle during the roasting process only sweeten the deal. Trust us, if you aren’t already acquainted with Kabocha, this salad will make it worth your while and help you check each of those resolutions off your list. Added BONUS: Check out these tips rules for conquering the gym this year!

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Arugala Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts
This recipe can also be found in our Soups, Salads and Pasta Section

Kabocha Squash:
1 kabocha squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Arugula Salad:
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot clove, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons hazelnut oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup hazelnuts, peeled
1 pound arugula (can substitute watercress or spinach)
6 oz. Ricotta Salata, grated

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Slice Squash: Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds using a large metal spoon. Cut each half, skin on, into 1 inch thick slices. Place slices into a large bowl and toss well with the olive oil and salt.

Roast Squash: Transfer the squash to a sheet pan(s), placing in a single layer, and roast until the squash is tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of roasting the squash, brush slices with the maple syrup. Roast until squash is done. Remove from oven, cover with foil and keep warm until service.

Make Vinaigrette: Mix the sherry vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, sugar, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Slowly pour in the hazelnut and olive oils while whisking vigorously to emulsify.

Toast Hazelnuts: Spread hazelnuts on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until lightly browned.

Serve: Reheat squash if necessary. Then, brush the squash with half of the vinaigrette. Just before serving, toss the arugula in a large bowl with the rest of the vinaigrette. Top each salad with some squash and hazelnuts . Using a rasp, generously grate the Ricotta Salata on top of each salad. Serve.

Serves 12

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