A comforting, seasonal recipe, perfect for fall
I don't know if you're like me, but I always feel as though I'm looking for new ways to cook squash, particularly in the fall. There's only so many times you can roast it with salt, olive oil, and pepper (though that method is delicious and fool proof).
Enter these stuffed kabocha squashes. Kabocha is a winter Japanese squash with an exceptionally sweet and creamy flesh and edible skin. This makes it the perfect choice for stuffed squash, particularly if you are lucky enough to stumble across smaller varieties at your local farmers market or asian market.
A couple recommendations: Depending on the size of your squash, you make want to microwave it for about 5 minutes so as to make cutting it a bit safer. If you choose to do this, however; I recommend that you *carefully* cut off the woody stem. Trust me on this one- I've had enough singed stems and microwave mishaps to learn to play it safe.
Onto the recipe!
Stuffed Kabocha Squash~
-3 small kabocha squashes
-2 carrots, chopped finely
-1 piece of celery, chopped finely
-1 shallot, chopped finely
-1 cup of finely cubed bread
-1/4 cup grated hard cheese of choice (optional)
-2 cups of vegetable stock
-1 cup quick cooking barley
-1/4 cup parsley
-2 tbsp rosemary
-1 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt (+ more to taste)
-black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Carefully cut off the tops of the kabocha squash, and place cut side down on a sheet tray. Place in oven and let cook until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Place bread on a sheet tray and let toast just for 5 minutes, to dry out. Add to a bowl with the grated cheese, parsley, the 2 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Toss to coat and set aside. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium high heat on the stovetop and add the remaining olive oil. Add the shallot, carrot, rosemary and celery and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the barley and let toast about 2 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and let cook, stirring often, about 10-20 minutes. Stir in the additional 1/2 tsp of salt. Remove the pan from the heat. Returning to your squash, scoop out the seeds from the center. Place a couple spoonfuls of the barley mixture into the cavity, top with bread crumb mixture, and place in oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!