When my dad had a garden back home in Detroit, he grew zucchini and made a wonderful stuffed version with cheese, Italian sausage and lots of garlic and onions. Mike brought home a lovely avocado squash a few days ago, and its size and shape made my thoughts turn immediately to stuffed squash.
I’m always looking for good meatless entrees which don’t rely so heavily on pastas or other starches, so I thought I would stuff the squash with a mixture of chopped sauteed veggies and a bit of cheese to bind it all together. What I ended up with was hearty but light, and so tasty it is definitely going into regular rotation while summer squashes are in season.
Stuffed Summer Squash
One or two large summer squash, halved lengthwise and cored
One bunch spinach leaves (probably 4-6 cups raw)
1 cup chopped spring onion
Extra virgin olive oil
Red chile flakes
1 tsp. each dried marjoram and basil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
4 oz. sheep’s milk ricotta (can substitute well-drained regular ricotta)
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus additional to top squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the squash halves with salt and rub with a little bit of olive oil. Place cut side up in a baking dish and set aside.
Warm a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook until beginning to soften. Add a couple of pinches of chile flakes, cook until fragrant, and then add the spinach and another pinch of salt. Toss well, cover the pan, and allow to cook until wilted. Remove the spinach and onions from the pan, squeezing out any excess liquid. Set the mixture on a cutting board and coarsely chop.
In a bowl, beat one egg with the dried marjoram and basil. Add the spinach mixture and toss. Add the breadcrumbs, ricotta and Pecorino and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stuff mixture into squash halves, top with additional grated Pecorino, and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.