A few weeks ago we drove out to Walla Walla to do a little early spring release wine tasting. At one beautiful winery, Abeja, we were blown over by the fine wines as well as the food offered at their autumn-held celebration. Chef Pascal Sauton from Portland, Oregon's Carafe Bistro prepared a dish so delectable we returned the following day for another tasting (or five). The small plate that had the four of us nearly begging for more was the Lamb Spare Ribs with Kabocha Squash Puree and Hibbits Ranch Walnut Pesto.
It was a tender, unctuous section of rib that had been slow roasted until the meat was falling off the bone, served atop a subtly sweet puree of kabocha squash (a Japanese pumpkin), then drizzled with a delicious earthy walnut pesto.
Here is our recreated version:
Lamb Spare Ribs, Kabocha Puree & Walnut Pesto
Lamb ribs, cut into thirds (about 3" in length)
1 kabocha squash
Fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed garlic and lemon zest
Slow roast the ribs until meat starts to pull away from the bone.
To make the kabocha puree: Cut the kabocha into 2 inch pieces, remove seeds. Place onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 40-60 minutes in a 400° F oven or until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch remove outer green skin and place in a food processor. Puree the squash mixture until smooth.
To make the walnut pesto: Roast walnuts in a 350° F oven until golden, turning frequently. Pulse in a food processor until in small pieces, but careful not to create a paste. Add chopped parsley, drizzle in walnut oil and pulse until a medium-moist consistency is reached. You don't want it too pasty or too dry. For added flavor toss in some finely crushed garlic and lemon zest to taste
Serve ribs on top on the puree and spoon the pesto over the top.