Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Italian Stuffed Acorn Squash

I got a bounty of vegetables from my produce co-op last time, and there were two acorn squash in there. Like I've said before I'm still learning to embrace the squash, but my friend Jen had made a stuffed acorn squash recipe awhile back that looked really good. I was excited to have acorn squash so we could try it. I also had everything on hand for it which was a double bonus.

Jen originally found this recipe on RecipeZaar.com. She modified hers for the oven instead of the slow cooker like the recipe calls for, so if you want to know how to do it that way, check out her post on it.

Italian Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup wild rice
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pine nuts (I have used sunflower seeds too)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush squash halves with olive oil and place in slow cooker (slice off bottoms to level, if necessary). Pour 1 cup water into the cooker, around (not into) squash.

In a small bowl, combine wild rice blend, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, minced garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and spices; stir until well-mixed. Stuff rice mixture into each squash half.

Slowly pour about 1/2 cup vegetable broth into each squash cavity until full (don't let stuffing overflow). Pour any remaining broth around squash. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Just prior to serving, sprinkle with crumbled cheese.


For some reason, I was really hesitant to make this. I don't know why, but the day we were going to have it I kept putting off adding everything to the slow cooker. i don't know why, Jen and her family had really liked it. Perhaps my squash aversion. I finally got around to it, although since I had two squash I doubled the recipe--only to find out that just three halves would fit in my crockpot. Jen had said her son, who is the same age as the boy, ate a quarter of one, so I figured the kids could split a half.

I was concerned the squash itself wasn't cooking, but I checked it at one point (I know, I know...never take the lid off a slow cooker) and stuck a fork in it to find it was already pretty tender. I think my total cooking time was about 3.5 hours on low. It maybe could have gone a little longer for the rice, but we had to eat at a certain time to get to our Bible study groups.

The husband and I really liked it. REALLY liked it. I loved the feta sprinkled on top, it added a great creamy flavor to the other ingredients. The husband and I found that 1/4 of a squash was really filling. I realized as I was cutting a half in half for the kids that the baby hasn't had nuts yet, and since there are some nut allergies in our family I was hesitant to give it to him because of the pine nuts, so he got chicken nuggets. The boy I don't think even took a bite. Whether he didn't like the look of it or he was jealous his brother was getting chicken nuggets I don't know. But, really one squash would have been enough for our whole family which makes this super economical.

I don't know if I'd make it again because of the kids, but I might do it when it's just the husband and I eating. I definitely recommend the recipe, though!!

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