I made this colorful dish for Christmas dinner and am just getting around to sharing it with you now. I'd like to say that I sat down and thought about everyone's favorite vegetables and what would be pretty with the rest of the meal but honestly...I got rushed, and behind, and realized awfully late that I'd said I would bring a vegetable dish out to my Aunt Mary's farm. I was grateful to find a kabocha squash, a head of red cabbage, and a spot of Parmesan cheese in the cooler.
Merry Christmas to me! Seriously.
When I bring a dish to someone else's home, my goal is for it to be at least partially prepared ahead of time to minimize freaking the hostess out with the need for a cutting board, pans, and precious space on a crowded cooktop. I also knew that our meal was going to be awfully rich - standing rib roast, creamy potatoes, all the goodness of a holiday meal. This gratin exists in the realm of a pan of sauteed vegetables, with just a bit of cheese to tie it all together.
If you haven't roasted a kabocha squash before, you're in for such a treat! The rind is quite soft - edible even, although I confess I have yet to eat it myself - and the flesh is flavorful, smooth, and just-sweet. I predict it will be your favorite new squash. The play of smooth, sweet squash with still-crunchy cabbage is lovely with a roast. Or atop polenta for a meatless dinner.