Jerry Rutiz of Rutiz Family Farms carved this red kuri squash for me. It’s almost too pretty to eat!

Sweet, delicious roasted winter squash is one of the delights of the season. And I’ve got an easy way to do it. Forget wrestling to halve and seed a hard, raw gourd. This technique is a simple — and safe! — way to roast any type of winter squash for soups, pies, and more.


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Pierce the squash in a few places with a large knife or meat fork, and place it on a baking sheet. Roast it until it’s browned and shiny, beginning to lose its shape, and easily pierced with a knife.

The cooking time will depend on the size and density of the squash, but figure on about 1 hour for a 5-pound squash. The denser the meat and the smaller the seed cavity, the heavier the squash will be for its size.  A low-moisture, high-fiber 5-pound kabocha won’t be very large, but will take a while to reach tenderness.


Step 2: When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a long kitchen knife to halve it crosswise. The knife should slide through the pumpkin like butter.


Step 3: Remove the top half, cut side up, to a second baking sheet or cutting board. If the squash is too large or tender to manage this move in one piece, pull the top half off in sections. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings (or save the seeds for another purpose).


Step 4: Use large spoon to scoop the flesh into a bowl. Use as is, or puree or mash it with a food processor or fork and freeze in convenient 2-cup containers to use throughout the season. You’ll be ready to make My Favorite Pumpkin Pie recipe at a moment’s notice!