Monday, December 9

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

I was looking to try something totally different when I chose this recipe but I now realize it's basically the same thing I've been doing with spaghetti squash and zucchini. Ha. Guess I've found myself in a bit of a squash phase. Luckily it's healthy and delicious. Especially this recipe which is so rich and decadent you'll feel like you're eating desert. (I finished less than half but as you can tell from the picture mine were HUGE.)

I should also add that I didn't actually bake my squash twice, at least not in the same night. I followed the instructions until the point at which you take the squash out of the oven and lower the temperature to 400. However, instead of lowering it I turned it off, wrapped the squash in foil, and put it in the fridge. Tonight I finished the job by scooping the squash out, mixing with the other ingredients, stuffing the shells and baking a second time. Easy and stress free :)

Ingredients: (Serves 4-8)
2 regular, or 4 small butternut squash
salt and pepper 
⅔ cup uncooked quinoa 
⅔ cup pecan halves roughly chopped 
2 tsp. olive oil 
1 small shallot minced 
½ tsp. dried oregano 
¼ tsp. salt 
¾ cups panko breadcrumbs 
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted 
4 oz. (115g.) parmesan cheese 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Wash the outside of the squash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon or mellon baller. Place the squash halves cut-side up in a large baking dish. Sprinkle the surface of the squash with salt and pepper. Pour ¼ inch of water in the bottom of the pan and cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake the squash until it is tender when pierced with a fork, 30-50 minutes depending on the size. 
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa by bringing 1 and ⅓ cup water to boil in a small pot. Add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer and put a lid on the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Toast the pecans until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In the same skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil and shallots.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften, about 5 minutes.
After squash is cooked, remove it from the oven, discard foil, and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F.* 
Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, gently scrape the flesh out of the roasted squash halves, leaving a layer of about ¼ inch of squash remaining in the shell. (Leave the squash shells in the baking dish.) In a large bowl combine the squash, cooked quinoa, pecans, shallot, oregano, and salt. In another small bowl whisk together the panko breadcrumbs and butter. Finely grate the parmesan cheese. Add 2 Tbsp. of the cheese to the panko. Add the remaining parmesan to the squash mixture and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Gently spoon the squash mixture into the squash shells. Sprinkle the panko and parmesan over the top. Return squash to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the tops are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.**

*Or shut the oven off, wrap the squash in foil, and put it in the fridge.
** If the squash has been in the fridge it may need to be cooked longer.

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