Stuffed Baby Squash
Choose evenly sized small squash such as "Sweet Dumpling". You are looking for a flavorful single-serving size squash, one per person. Alternately, you could choose a medium-sized pumpkin (6 lbs) and about 14 inches in diameter. This pumpkin would easily serve 6 - 8 persons. The small squash are very nice as individual serving "dishes", however.
Carefully cut the top out, leaving at least a half inch all around, since you will firmly replace the tops when you bake the squash. Scoop out seeds and fibers, and season the cleaned squash with soy or worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Allow to "marinate" while you prepare the stuffing.
First, cook the rice:
- 2 T butter
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 cup "creamy" rice (risotto)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3 cups broth, part chicken, part mushroom, or all vegetarian if that is important
- salt and pepper
- In a large heavy bottomed skillet melt the butter and saute the onion until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat. Warm the broth and wine together in a separate pan, and begin to add by cupfuls to the rice and onion mixture. Continue adding broth, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Continue to stir often. When the grains are soft to the taste, and the rice is nice and creamy in texture (not too dry for risotto), remove from heat and set aside.
To complete the risotto stuffing:
- 1 large eggplant
- 4 carrots
- 6 scallions or green onions
- l l/3 cups cooked kidney beans (canned are alright)
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (you can buy these in bulk, and toast in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I like to roll them first in salt and olive oil before baking. Check often so they do not brown too much. Use same process with hazelnuts or almonds).
- l/2 cup roasted almonds or hazelnuts, chopped.
- salt, pepper, butter
- l/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Wash the eggplant and slice to about 1/2 inch thickness, but do not peel. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and set aside for 15 minutes to remove water. Rinse lightly, pat dry.
Cut the dried eggplant into bite-sized pieces. heat a little butter and olive oil in a skillet. Chop the scallions and saute for a few minutes. Add the eggplant. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt, pepper, and a little more worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
Slice the carrots into bite sized pieces and cook until they are still slightly crunchy. (3 - 5 minutes). Drain and set aside.
Combine the rice, seeds, nuts, eggplant, carrots and cooked beans. Toss together with parmesan cheese, and taste for final seasoning. If it does not seem "moist" enough, add a bit more broth. The stuffing can be made several hours ahead of baking.
To complete: Stuff each squash with the risotto, replace lids, exactly in the shape they were removed. Place squash in a shallow baking dish. Bake in 425% oven for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork. Serve while hot. The lids will "shrink" away a bit, as the squash cook.