Stuffed Butternut Squash

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I saw this recipe about a year ago on the Rachael Ray Show as a side dish for the upcoming holiday meals we're about to be going crazy over or as a meatless main dish.  I had pinned it but did nothing else with it.

Two weeks ago, I was in a dinner funk.  Do you ever have those?  Everything we might normally eat didn't sound appealing, and in preparation for our then upcoming trip to Nashville and the aforementioned holiday season (translation: season of eating), I wanted to make sure we were a. eating at least mostly healthy, and b. eating up what we had in the house.

I started going back over my Pinterest "to try" board and came across the stuffed butternut squash recipe and went "yes!" in my head.  I had almost everything I needed on hand to make it, so it was dinner a couple nights.  I paired it with the kale salad and called it dinner, and it was oh. so. good.  

You just about have me sold with anything containing butternut squash, but add in the cheese, herbs, and onion?  Over the top.  This may be one of my new favorites.  

I tweaked the recipe for ingredients I had, so it's just slightly different.  I'll post it as I made it and you can click on the recipe title for a link to the recipe and a video from the show itself.

adapted from Rachael Ray
serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

1 medium butternut squash
EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp. rosemary, chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 425F.

Halve the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and drizzle with EVOO. Season with salt, pepper and a little fresh nutmeg; roast to just tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove and cool to handle.
Reduce oven heat to 375F.

Carefully scoop the flesh of the squash into a bowl, keeping the skins intact. Mash squash flesh with 1 cup of cheddar, 1 cup of Parm, all of the ricotta, and the rosemary. Adjust seasonings and stuff the shells with the mashed squash. Top with a sprinkle of remaining cheddar and Parm, and bake to golden on top, about 10 minutes.

Garnish with scallions.

  • If you're a sort of regular reader, you've probably read before about how I'll choose foods I can cook in stages, and this dish is another good example of breaking up the prep over different days or times of day.  I roasted the squash the night before and stuck it in the fridge.  The next day, I picked up with the rest of the prep and served it.  It turned what would have been about an hour or so prep into two sets of 30 minutes or so each.
  • You don't want the squash super, super soft (though tender) after roasting, because you want to make sure the skins or shells hold up.
  • The original recipe called for ricotta cheese.  When I went shopping, the store was out of ricotta, so I took a cue from my favorite lasagna recipe and used cottage cheese.  It worked well, but I wonder if the ricotta would yield a slightly smoother and maybe creamier end result.

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