Stuffed squash is one of my easiest weeknight meals. It’s great for both winter and summer varieties, you can take any squash, slice it down the center lengthwise and roast it cut side down in the oven. While the squash is roasting scour the cabinets and refrigerator for stuffing ingredients. Some of the more memorable meals I’ve made have been formed this way. This version will take a little longer if you use wild rice, but the flavor is great. If you don’t have wild rice, substitute brown or any other variety. White rice will work, but will probably have a very different texture. I did pick up some whole milk ricotta cheese this week to pair with the heirloom tomatoes, so I tossed the cooked rice with that and there wasn’t much work left.
My weekly CSA share included 3 nice sized zephyr squashes, an heirloom variety that tastes similar to a regular yellow squash. Summer squash comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors as you’ll find in your weekly share. While the tastes may vary slightly, use them interchangeably in recipes. Summer squash will roast quicker than a winter variety, I like mine with a little bite left in them. Some people prefer them cooked until very soft, so if you do increase the cooking time. The wild rice takes about an hour to cook, and cooking it ahead of time will make the meal quicker.
Cook the rice with onions, garlic, and any other flavorful vegetables that come in your CSA share. This week is also the beginning of the sweet pepper harvest, so I used half of a sweet Italian roasting pepper, they’re so flavorful. Other great additions would be leek, cubed carrot, celery, or try cubed celeriac. If you have chicken or vegetable stock, simmer the rice in that, but if you don’t water works fine. While the rice is cooking carefully scoop the seeds out of the squash, a little bit at a time so that each squash has a small channel in it. When the rice is cooked and the squash is softened toss the ricotta with the rice, and taste it to see if the salt needs to be adjusted. Season the rice and ricotta mixture, then mound it onto the squash.
Return the squash to the oven for 15 – 20 minutes depending on how soft you like your squash. Top the cooked squash with shaved parmesan or crumbled soft cheese like feta or goat.
Wild Rice Stuffed Summer Squash
3 medium sized summer squash, sliced in half lengthwise
1 cup wild rice
4 cups water or cooking stock
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (or diced carrot, celery, celeriac)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
sea salt and pepper
Sauté red pepper, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil. Add wild rice and stir, toasting for about 2 minutes. Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour, adding extra liquid if rice is not tender when all liquid is absorbed.
Preheat oven to 375F. Gently scoop seeds out of each squash half to make a channel in each squash. Arrange the squash cut side down in a glass baking pan. Drizzle the squash halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast squash cut side down in the oven for 20 minutes.
Mix ricotta with cooked rice. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Turn squash over, and mound rice in each channel. Return to oven and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes depending on how desired firmness of squash. Sprinkle squash with shaved parmesan and serve.
Grilling Variation. Heat grill to medium. Grill the squash cut side down 10 – 15 minutes until softened, but still firm enough to hold it’s shape. Stuff as directed, then grill over medium to finish the squash.
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