Sicilian Sweet and Sour Pumpkin

Serves 8

In this Sicilian side dish, sweet-and-sour vinaigrette and crushed red pepper highlight the savory side of the versatile sugar pumpkin. Wedges are traditionally fried or sauteed, but roasting concentrates the flavors and requires much less oil. Serve it straight from the oven or at room temperature.

 

1 sugar pumpkin (4-pound)

8 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves only coarsely chopped

 

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

2. Halve pumpkin from stem to bottom, remove ends and scoop out seeds. With a vegetable peeler, remove the skin. Cut each half into quarters and then into 1-inch thick wedges. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and red pepper; toss well. Spread the wedges on the baking sheet in 1 layer. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes more or until the pumpkin is lightly browned and tender. (Total baking time is 1 hour.)

4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the vinegar and sugar for 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer the pumpkin to a platter and pour over the dressing. Sprinkle with the mint and serve warm or at room temperature. 

By Claudia Catalano. Originally published in The Boston Globe.