Monday, December 3, 2012

spicy twice baked stuffed winter squash

this is the perfect dish for chilly fall nights.  winter squash is first roasted in the oven until very soft and then filled with a slightly spicy mixture of ground meat, vegetables, squash pulp, greens and chile.  topped with panko bread crumbs and parmigiano reggiano cheese for crunch; all you need is a green salad and dinner is served.
spicy twice baked stuffed winter squash
2 winter squash, halved and seeded (i usually use acorn, kobacha or sweet dumpling)
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 lb ground beef, turkey or vegetarian substitute
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 oz baby spinach leaves, washed
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup "italian style" panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
preheat oven to 400 degrees F

line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  place squash halves cut side up on pan.  drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp honey over each squash half and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  roast in oven until squash flesh is easily pierced with a sharp knife (45 minutes to 1 hour).  remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.  reduce oven to 375 degrees F.  keep baking sheet nearby.
cook ground meat or turkey in medium sized skillet until done.  drain fat and return to pan. (if using vegetarian substitute, follow package directions.  stir in onion, garlic and jalapeno; cook until vegetables are soft. (about 4 minutes)  add pine nuts, spinach, red pepper flakes and orange juice, cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach wilts (2-3 minutes).

when squash is cool enough to touch, use a sharp knife and cut 4-5 lines lengthwise into squash pulp being careful not to cut into the skin.  repeat for each half.  then, using the same technique, cut 4-5 lines width wise.  you will be left with small cubes.  use a spoon to scoop out the squares.  they should be very soft.  add the squash pulp to the meat mixture and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir until squash is incorporated.  season to taste with salt and pepper.

mound stuffing mixture evenly into each squash half and place on reserved baking sheet. sprinkle bread crumbs and parmigiano over each squash half.  drizzle a bit more olive oil over the top. (this will crisp up the bread crumbs and cheese.  bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through.  serve immediately.

it is winter squash week at food network's fall fest. check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: African Peanut Stew With Shrimp and Butternut Squash
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Spicy Thai Coconut Winter Squash Noodle Soup
The Heritage Cook: Spaghetti Squash Two Ways
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Winter Squash Muffins With Honey and Molasses
Virtually Homemade: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese With Sage and Bacon Breadcrumbs
Red or Green?: Spicy Twice-Baked Stuffer Winter Squash
Devour: Rachael Ray's Easy Pumpkin and Winter Squash Lasagna
Thursday Night Dinner: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
FN Dish: 5 Light Squash Recipes

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california girl in taos
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