Monday, July 21, 2008

Stuffed Squash with Quinoa Pilaf

Well I'm no Tartine Gourmande, but Bea's recent post inspired me to try out this recipe, and oh, it was delicious. (Note - the recipe I linked to above is actually from 2006, but she referenced it in a posting from last week that included several recipes for stuffed squash.) I made a few modifications, and the recipe lends itself very nicely to using whatever you have on hand. The original recipe called for prosciutto, but I omitted that and added breadcrumbs. I also used a quinoa pilaf instead of the rice that the original recipe called for. I think toasted walnuts or pine nuts would be a good addition to this as well. As always, I say use your imagination and creativity, and use what you have on hand.

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

For the quinoa pilaf, first, dice half an onion and slowly saute it over medium heat in a small bit of butter. If you like, add a teeny sprinkling of brown sugar to help the caramelization process along. When the onions are golden brown, add about 3/4 cup of quinoa and stir it all together for a few minutes. Add a little salt, a little dried thyme, and then add enough stock or water to cover it by about an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, put a lid on it and let the quinoa cook for about 15-20 minutes until the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Now, stir in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup chic peas.

For the squash: Scoop out the flesh, set it aside and dice it. Cut the kernels off one ear of corn and set aside. Dice one big fat clove of garlic. Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and along with it, a small pinch of dried coriander and dried cumin (I like to toast the spices whole and then grind them). Now add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes, and then add the corn and cook for another 3 minutes, and finally, stir in about 1/2 cup sungold cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Remove from heat, stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used Panko in this case), a light sprinkling of parmesan and a smattering of chopped fresh parsley. Now, combine this mixture with the pilaf, and wow, it's good enough to eat just like this, but trust me, it gets better!

Spoon this delicious stuffing into the squash, place them into a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Pour about a half an inch of broth or water into the bottom of the pan. If you find you have extra stuffing left over, place it in a separate baking dish. Top everything with salt and pepper and a little more breadcrumbs and parmesan, and bake for about an hour.

This dish would be especially satisfying in the winter, but here in the Bay area, sometimes summer feels like winter, so this dish was perfect for a day like today, when the sun barely managed to squeeze through the clouds.

No comments: