Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheese-y Stuffed Summer Squash

I love the patty pan squash we've been getting lately. It's so pretty, I hate to cut it up and ruin its attractive scalloped edge. If I must cut it, I prefer to slice it crosswise, that way at least some of the slices retain their distinctive scallop.

This recipe is great because the squash is kept whole, maintaining its lovely shape. The squash is scooped out, stuffed and cooked until tender. While the recipe may sound complicated, it's really quite easy and the finished dish looks like something special.

I like the combination of vegetables in the recipe below, but one of the wonderful features of stuffing is you can add whatever you like. Vegans can replace the cheese with quinoa or bulgher; carnivores might like to include a little crumbled bacon, sausage, or chorizo. Whatever your tastes, I encourage you to try this delicious recipe with patty pan squash or any other summer squash such as zucchini.

Cheese-y Stuffed Summer Squash

2 medium patty pan squash
1 T butter
2-3 T chopped red onion
3-4 leaves finely chopped chard
1/4 C chopped shiitake mushrooms
1/4 C grated cheddar or jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degree. Wash and dry the squash.

2. Using a sharp knife, slice a very small piece (crosswise) off the rounded bottom of the squash so that it is stable when standing. Then, with the squash standing, using a melon baller or a small ice cream scoop, cut into the top of the squash and scoop out the flesh (and seeds) leaving about 1/2 inch along the sides and bottom.

3. Finely chop the squash flesh that you've removed. There's no need to peel the skin. However, you may want to cut away and compost any tough stems.

4. Place the hollowed out squash in a small saucepan, bottoms down. Fill with about 1 inch of water. Cover and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Cook the squash in the covered pan until barely tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

5. While the squash is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the onions and saute over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped squash flesh and saute 1 minute. Add the chopped chard and shiitake mushrooms and saute until tender and dry.

6. Spoon the cooked vegetables into a small mixing bowl and add the grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the cheese is well combined. It's fine with the grated cheese melts from the heat of the cooked vegetables.

7. Divide the stuffing into two portions and spoon it into the hollowed out, parboiled squash, mounding it into a nicely rounded top.

8. Place the stuffed squash on a slightly greased, small cookie sheet and place in the hot oven. Bake until the top is well-browned, about 10 minutes. Serve whole, or using a sharp knife, slice in half lengthwise.

If you'd like, you can season the stuffing with a little sage or oregano. A little parsley is also nice.

Today's bounty included:

From Underwood Family Farms: bi-color corn, Blue Lake green beans, golden beets, Japanese turnips, green bell peppers, chard, Valencia oranges, patty pan squash, red and green leaf lettuce, and Orange Gem tomatoes.

From Sage Mountain Farm: heirloom melons, white carrots, cucumber, collard greens, garlic, and hybrid tomatoes.

And from Silver Lake Farms: parsley, cilantro, arugula, and mustard microgreens.



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