Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Here is a recipe I made up last night when cooking for a client. It was so good, I made some for us, too! Easy to heat up and munch on all week. Quinoa is a really delicious heirloom grain that cooks quickly and is super healthy. I used red quinoa, but you can use regular(white), black, or other small tender grains. The veggies can be easily substituted for whatever you have in the fridge, but this combo worked really well. If I wasn't feeding an anti-olive crowd, I would have also chopped 2/3 cup of mixed Sicilian olives in here, too. Either way, this one was a major hit!
Stuffed Acorn Squash
The Squash

3 or 4 smallish squashes (here I used 1 4"dumpling squash, 1 5"acorn squash, and 1 7" delicata)
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash each squash and cut each in half, vertically (from stem to to bottom). Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Rub insides and out with a little olive oil and sea salt. Place halves on a baking sheet with the cut side down. Roast about 45 minutes, or until tender when you poke at them. Remove from oven and let cool.

Continue prepping the next steps while they roast.
Step 2:
The Veggies:

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
3 t minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini and/or yellow squash
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup drained roasted peppers, cut into strips
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
squirt of fresh lemon juice
lots of freshly ground black pepper

Warm oil in a saute pan, cook onion, garlic, and fennel over medium for 2 or 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Turn up to high for a little while, 5-8 minutes, watching closely, and stirring occasionally. Turn down to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until veggies are reduced and a bit caramelized.

Step 3:
The Quinoa

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup red quinoa (or white or black quinoa)
1 tsp sea salt

Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and salt and cover immediately. Turn heat to low. Let simmer undisturbed for about 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is tender and fragrant.

Step 4:
Stuffing the Squash

Salt and Pepper
10 oz young asiago cheese or fontinelli cheese, diced (1/4")
1 jar tomato sauce (my favorite for this is Paul Newman's Fire Roasted Tomato & Garlic)

Combine quinoa and cooked veggies, either in the saute pan if there is room or a mixing bowl, if not. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 3/4 of the cheese to the mixture and stir to distribute, reserving the rest to sprinkle on top.
With a spoon, stuff each squash half with the mixture. Feel free to pack it in firmly and mound filling over the top of each.

Pour sauce around squash and sprinkle a little of the reserved cheese on each. Bake at 375 for about 20 or until cheese is melty and filling is hot.

Serve as a vegetarian entree or an exciting side dish.

** Great reheated**

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