Stuffed Butternut Squash, Two Ways

When it's my turn to cook, I often go for a vegetarian dish. Tonight I went down into the root cellar (ok, it's really just the cold, drafty basement) and grabbed a couple of butternut squash to stuff.

First, they need to be pre-baked, so cut off the stem end, slice lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Then place cut-side down on an oiled tray (I used peanut oil, but it doesn't really matter):

Bake for a half hour at 350 degrees. As you can see, I picked a big one for me and Kirk, and a small one for the kids.

While that's cooking, you can make the stuffings. 

For the kids, I went with an Italian filling. The measurements below made extra, but you might need it depending on the type of squash you use).

1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped (I used a food processor)
4 sundried tomatoes, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 of a small leek, diced
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
2 Tbs. grated parmesan
1 cube frozen pesto, thawed (it's about a tablespoon)
1 tsp. rosemary
3/4 cup frozen Swiss chard, thawed
salt and pepper to taste

Stir all the ingredients together:

When the squash is cooked, flip it over and fill the hollowed space (where seeds used to be) with the filling. Bake another 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I used some extra mozzarella to cover the neck of the squash as well.

Now, that recipe was for the kids, which I marketed as "pizza-flavored." 50% of the children who live here enjoyed it.

The reason I made a kid version is because the adult version had lots of blue cheese in it. They are not fans, and it was easy enough to make two different types.

The adult version is a yummy, fall-flavored treat. Again, I had some filling left over.

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, chopped (only because I didn't have enough walnuts)
2 sundried tomatoes, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 small leek, diced
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, depending on your taste (I like a lot)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 cup frozen Swiss chard, thawed
salt and pepper to taste

Again, just stir it all together and stuff the squash. Baking time is the same.

On the big ones, I hollowed out an extra compartment in the neck to hold more filling. This version was a really nice combination of the sharp cheese and sweet squash. Originally I had planned to add some mushrooms to this, but I totally forgot. I bet that would be great for next time, though — and would make it even more filling than it already is!


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