Monday, November 29, 2010

cheesy stuffed acorn squash/squash seed pesto with lime

baked acorn squash stuffed with bread and cheese

Finally, something a bit more seasonal! Of course, now that it's nearly December, the time even for winter squash is passing. I hope there is room in your post-Thanksgiving stomachs for more than just gingerbread and Christmas cookies, because you are going to love this.

The recipe is by Dorie Greenspan, but I first ate the sadly belatedGourmet Magazine version at Thanksgiving at Nathan's stepmother's friend's house in both 2008 and 2009. We were all blown away by how good it was, and I was pleased to discover how easy it was to prepare!

Take a nice winter squash, like a pumpkin or an acorn squash, like I used. Cut off the top and scrape out the seeds, which can be reserved for a later use. Now comes the fun part. Fill up that little squash cavity with whatever deliciousness strikes your fancy. I used cheddar and mozzarella and gouda and crispy bacon bits and minced garlic and cubes of whole wheat bread and a generous sprinkling of basil. Once you've got everything nicely mixed in there, pour in a little cream so that everything gets nice and moist and melds together.

cheesy stuffed squash

You stick the top back onto the stuffed squash and then pop it in a 350˚ oven for an hour or two, based on how big your squash is. You just need the squash to get nice and soft and squishy. When its almost done, you can take off the squash lid and let the cheese get crisp and golden bubbly on top. Then you can dig in, scraping the fleshy squash away from the skin, and mixing it up with all that fabulous rich stuffing. It's sinfully good.

basil lime pumpkin seed pesto

And what of all those seeds? Well, obviously you can toast them with salt and sugar and butter and whatever spices strike your fancy– Lord knows I've toasted enough seeds in my CSA days. If you're looking for something a little different, you might try making basil pesto sauce, substituting the usual pine nuts or walnuts with an equal measure of the toasted seeds.

try seeds instead of nuts

I found an actual recipe for this, which also called for lime juice, which gave whole thing a strange but not altogether unpleasant acidity. It also didn't have any cheese, which was probably good given the addition of the lime juice. Of course, I ended up shaving a little parmesan over the pasta anyway, for a more or less successful dish. Ultimately, this was an interesting way to use up the acorn squash seeds, but was not as good as pesto, original flavor. You've got to try baking a cheese stuffed squash, but you can probably skip the seed pesto unless you find it particularly intriguing.

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