Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sorta-Stuffed Squash

Here's the stuffed squash post I mentioned last Friday. I call it Sorta-Stuffed Squash because every stuffed squash recipe I've ever seen involves stuffing the squash and then baking it. Sometimes the squash is partially baked first, but it always ends up in the oven after being stuffed with some sort of mixture, usually rice-based. This recipe cheats by cooking the filling separately from the squash and just throwing them together at the end.

You might think cooking the squash and the filling separately is more complicated, but both steps are actually very easy and totally hands-off once you've got them on the heat. After halving the squash and scooping out the seeds, put a pat of butter in the hollow of each half and roast them, cut side up, for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees. The exact time will vary from squash to squash, but they should be tender when you stick a fork in them.

Once the squash is in the oven, make Rebecca Blood's brown rice and lentil recipe, which I've mentioned before. It couldn't be simpler - just lentils, rice, and water - then add salt and/or a little red wine vinegar when it's done. The lentils take about 25-30 minutes to cook, so your squash and your lentils will be done around the same time. Meanwhile, rinse and spin your lettuce, make your dressing, and you've still got twenty minutes to check email, watch the news, or - my favorite - enjoy a glass of wine.

When both the squash and the lentils are ready, scoop the lentils into the squash hollow. Tada! You're done. The rice and lentils absorb some of the melted butter from the squash, and the sweetness of the roasted squash nicely complements the salted, earthy taste of the lentils. This meal is a hat trick: easy, healthy, and cheap.


Amanda said...
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Amanda said...

At first I thought that picture was of risotto-stuffed squash. Lentils sound great too. It makes me think, though, of a great butternut squash risotto recipe I have-- it would be pretty to serve it in a squash shell sometime like you have done here...although half a butternut would look a bit awkward on the plate I guess compared to the pretty variety you have here.