Kabocha, also called Japanese pumpkin, has a delectably sweet, creamy flesh. Slow-roasting this squash really brings out maximum flavor. If kabocha is not available in your area, feel free to subsitute an equal weight of acorn squash. Although acorn squash won't be as sweet, you can add a few drops of maple syrup to the mix to make up for it. Do add in all the toppings, though, which provide great flavor and texture to the soup.
To choose an acorn squash, look for an unblemished fruit that's heavy for its size. If possible, buy one or two more than you'll need for this recipe: The winter squash is truly versatile and can be baked in the oven, sauteed, steamed, mashed of pureed for a seasonal soup.
Fiber-rich hulled barley gives our risotto a satisfying chewy texture, and provides the perfect base to show off winter's primed butternut squash and kale!