Grilled Squash With Mint-Pomegranate Pesto

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: The pesto needs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. You'll have about a cup of it left over; it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature and stir just before using. Fresh pomegranate seeds, called arils, are sometimes available packaged in the refrigerated part of the produce section, or gather them from a split whole fruit. Pomegranate molasses is available in many supermarkets and in Middle Eastern stores. Adapted from "Gjelina: Cooking From Venice, California," by Travis Lett.

For the pesto:

• 1 c. chopped fresh mint

• 1/3 c. fresh pomegranate seeds (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. minced shallot

• 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

• 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest, plus 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

• 1 garlic clove

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or more as needed

For the squash:

1 winter squash, such as kabocha, red kuri or acorn (about 1 3/4 lb.), halved across the equator and seeded

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper


For the pesto: Combine the mint, pomegranate seeds, shallot, oil, pomegranate molasses, Parmigiano-Reggiano and lime zest in a medium bowl. Grate the garlic into the mixture; stir to combine, then stir in the salt. Taste, add more salt as needed. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Stir in the lime juice just before serving. (Makes 1 1/2 cups.)

For the squash: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the squash halves, cut sides down, in a roasting pan. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan, then cover with aluminum foil; roast until the squash has softened, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer the squash halves to a platter or cutting board to cool, then cut each half into thirds.

Heat a large grill pan over high heat.

Drizzle the squash wedges with the oil, turning to coat, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the squash pieces one side until well charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Resist the urge to move them; the wedges will release easily from the pan once they begin to blacken. Turn them over and cook the other side until charred, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter. Stir the pesto to re-incorporate, then spoon 1/2 cup of the pesto over the squash. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 180 Fat 17 g Sodium 70 mg

Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 3 g Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g