|Roasted Hokkaido Squash
I’ve received several questions lately about how to roast a pumpkin and how to make your own pumpkin puree. Here’s a quick, simple, step-by-step to tell you how it’s done. When choosing a pumpkin to roast, avoid the huge pumpkins grown for carving Jack O’ Lanterns out of. Instead, buy a sugar pumpkin, Hokkaido (also known as Uchiki Kuri), Mosquee de Provence or Butternut Squash so that the end product has good flavor and texture.
The squash you see in this post is a 1.3 kg Hokkaido.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C. Line an oven pan with parchment paper.
|Making the first cut.
Step 2: Cut the stem and a small piece of the bottom off of your pumpkin. The stem is extremely tough and hard to cut through, so this makes the process easier. Cutting a piece off the bottom gives you a stable surface while cutting. Take a heavy chef’s knife and point the tip into the center of the cut at the top of the pumpkin where the stem was. Press the knife about 1″ (2.5cm) into the pumpkin, and then angle the knife downward and push your way through the pumpkin and down toward the bottom. When your knife hits the cutting board, pull the knife out of the pumpkin, rotate the pumpkin 180° with the top still up, and repeat, cutting in the same way exactly opposite your first cut, down and through, slicing the pumpkin in half.
|Full of beautiful, flavorful seeds
Step 3: Using a heavy, sturdy spoon, scoop the pumpkin seeds out and into a bowl. Save these for later – roasted pumpkin seeds are an excellent snack.
|Remove the flesh from around these seeds and save them for roasting later
Step 4: Lay the pumpkins on the baking sheet cut side down. Place them in the hot oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the pumpkin skin can be easily pierced with a fork.
|Ready for the oven.
Step 5: Allow the pumpkins to cook for 15-20 minutes so that you don’t burn your fingers when taking out the pumpkin meat. You can remove the meat one of two ways: Either peel the skin off of the pumpkin meat using a knife, or scoop the pumpkin meat out of the shell using a spoon.
|Note the fork holes where the readiness of the pumpkin was tested. These are perfect.
Step 6: Place the pumpkin meat into a food processor and process until very smooth. Do not add water – you don’t want your pumpkin puree to be watery. A thick pumpkin puree is what you are looking for when cooking. If your pumpkin puree is really watery, you can either use it for soups where the water content doesn’t make a big difference and can be compensated for by adjusting the other liquids you add, or you can drain the pumpkin puree through a sieve for several hours to remove the liquid.
|Roasted Hokkaido Squash
Step 7: Measure out your pumpkin puree and mark the storage containers with the quantity. I usually freeze the puree in one cup/250 ml quantities as I typically need 1 or 2 cups in the recipes I use.
How much pumpkin puree will you get? It depends on the size of your pumpkin. My 1.3 kg Hokkaido yielded just over 2 cups / 500 ml of pumpkin puree.