My squash did not work at all this year, not even summer squash my “massive” harvest from all four plants was a 3 baby zucchinis! Thankfully Local organic squash is plentiful around here. This is my version of asian five spice, I find traditional pre-mixed five spice too perfumie for me personally, something about the proportion and mixture of star anise and schezwan pepper corns? In my version I am using black pepper corns instead of the traditional and sweeter pink schezwan pepper corns, I have also further moderated the combination of spices to give equal share to all of the five spices. Use whatever variety of winter squash you like, I have tried this with butternut, acorn and carnival all worked out lovely.
How to Perfectly Roasted Winter Squash: Roasting winter squash is pretty straight forward but does require some babysitting. Start by cutting your squash down the centre, scoop out the seeds and smear the cut sides with oil(I like olive oil), sprinkle with salt and bake on a cookie sheet cut side down at 425F for 30 to 50 mins depending on the size of your squash. Now here is where babysitting comes in, at about the 30 min mark you need to start checking the squash for doneness, the cut side should be caramelized and a fork should easily pierce the squash flesh at the thickest point. It’s taken me years to get roasting winter squash right, bake it too long and the cut sides burn and makes the squash bitter, don’t bake it long enough and the flesh is tough and inedible.
Black Pepper Five Spice sauce: In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind together equal parts; black pepper, star anise, fennel, cinnamon bark, and cloves. I used about 1 tsp of each. Make sure to really grind this into a fine powder. In a sauce pan over med heat combine 2 tsp of the black pepper five spice, 4 Tbl honey, and 2 tbl tamari soy sauce. Heat and stir until the honey has fully dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside. Makes enough to go with a medium acron squash.
To serve; plate up the roasted squash as is or scoop out and mash the flesh, drizzle or brush 1 to 2 tbls of sauce per half squash, the sauce is quite strong so taste as you go, how much sauce you add is going to depend on your personal taste and the size of your squash.
Just a fun side note here about winter squash, if you haven’t tried roasting winter squash seeds before, they work and taste just like roasted pumpkin seeds!