Zuccurì, our kabocha squash, is a great fall vegetable but can also be found year round in some regions. It can be baked and served on its own, in soups, as a side dish or even as a dessert due to it’s natural sweetness. Zuccurì has a tough (edible!) outer skin. In this video, Chris walks us through how to safely cut Zuccurì.
- Collect your Zuccurì, your sharpest large knife and a cutting board.
- Rinse and scrub your Zuccurì with cold water. The skin is edible and nutritiously dense, so don’t let it go to waste! It is rich in Beta Carotene and Vitamin E.
- Remove the stem by snapping it off from base.
- Carefully cut an outline around the stem base with a sharp knife and use a spoon to pop the hardened base of the stem out to remove it. You are only going deep enough to pierce through the green skin all around.
- Repeat this process for the bottom stem base.
Cut in two pieces:
- To halve it, place the Zuccurì upside-down so the bottom is facing up. The top of Zuccurì is always thicker than the bottom, so we find it easier to start cutting from the thinner side.
- Find light green lines to cut along that will give you two nearly equal halves. Cutting into lighter green rib marks makes it easier because they are a softer part of the skin.
- Start to cut by going from the stem base and cut along a light green rib line to the other stem base. Then repeat this cutting from base to base on another light green line that splits the Zuccurì in half.
- Split your Zuccurì in two.
- Scoop the seeds and loose guts out of each half with a spoon and set aside. These are edible! They can be baked much like pumpkin seeds (wash, dry and bake with salt and oil).
Cut into wedges for baking:
- To slice Zuccurì into wedges, face one half down on your cutting board.
- With a rocking motion of your knife, carefully make your way inward to center. Alternating front to back as you jigsaw your knife horizontally into the center.
- Repeat this several times until you have sliced up the entire half.
- Toss with some oil and salt, space out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Then broil briefly to finish. Serve warm.
The best storage for uncooked Zuccurì is to store in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator.