Pumpkin Salad with Pine Nuts, Pecorino and Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 small pumpkin or butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
- 2 tbsp fresh marjoram leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp pine nuts lightly toasted
- Sea salt
- Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 2 small bunches arugula, trimmed
- 1 wedge Pecorino Romano cheese (about 4 ounces)
- Aged balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350°. Peel, seed and cut pumpkin into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Using a mini food processor or a mortar and pestle, chop or crush marjoram, garlic, kosher salt, coriander, cinnamon and cumin. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix to form a paste.
In a large bowl, toss pumpkin in spice paste. On a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet, spread pumpkin in a single layer. Top with another piece of parchment and cover pan tightly with foil; bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until pumpkin browns lightly, 30 to 35 minutes; cool slightly.
Return pumpkin to bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add pine nuts, sea salt and ground red pepper. Toss gently to combine.
Arrange 1/3 of pumpkin on a serving platter. In the bowl with the remaining pumpkin, add arugula, the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice, and sea salt to taste; toss gently. Top plated pumpkin with arugula mixture. Cut cheese into thin wedges or shave with a vegetable peeler and arrange on top of salad. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste.