I admit that I was getting really tired of our usual roasted acorn squash with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. So I was pleased when I saw a Mario Batali recipe for stuffed acorn squash. I decided to give it a shot, but I changed it up significantly based on what I had available. What follows is the recipe I used after all my changes. Served along side orzo mixed with pesto, this made a great vegetarian dinner. You could probably bake the squash in advance if you were in a time crunch at dinner. Serve hot or room temp.
3 acorn squash, quartered and seeded
Salt and pepper
1 bunch chopped scallions (whole onion)
4 cloves minced garlic
3-4 c fresh spinach leaves
2 T tomato paste
1 c ricotta cheese
1 c Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
Trim a flat spot on the bottom of the squash quarters so they will sit flat. Arrange them inside a 9×13 baking pan and season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat a heavy drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add scallions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until wilted – 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute or two. I deglazed the pan with a little water.
Combine the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl.
Fill squash with scoops of the spinach mixture. Top each squash quarter with about a tablespoon of ricotta. Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs. Slide the squash under a broiler until the tops start to brown, 1-2 minutes.