Delicata Deliciousness

Delicata Squash are the BEST WINTER SQUASH EVAR. Do you know why? Picture, for a moment, trying to peel a butternut squash. Or remove the seeds out of a recalcitrant pumpkin. Delicata squash have the wonderful features of being plentiful at the fall farmer’s market, pretty tasty, and best of all, you don’t have to peel them. You can just eat the skin.

(image from Oregon Live foodday)

There are a ton of delicata squash recipes out there, and it’s easy to see why – easy to cook, easy to eat, delicata makes some great side dishes (here’s a good basic version from summertomato.com), but it also makes for some fantastic main vegetarian fare. The recipe that follows is classic me all over – I poked around the house and the yard to see what we had, and went for it. I ended up basting the squash in sage-infused butter and topping it with homemade rice… uh… pilaf? (for lack of a better word) and putting a few generous spoonfuls of herbed cottage cheese on top

Stuffed Delicata with Herbed Cottage Cheese & Kale

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squashes, ends cut off, sliced lengthwise, seeds scooped out
  • 3/4 cup (dried) brown rice
  • 4-6T butter
  • Several Tbsps fresh chopped sage (you could use any fresh herb, I think rosemary might be nice)
  • 1/2 cup mixture of nuts and seeds and raisins (I used slivered almonds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds)
  • 1 1/2 C cottage cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
First start the rice (this can take a while to cook, depending on your rice, so plan accordingly) and preheat the oven to 375 while you’re cleaning the squash. When the squash is prepped, pop it in a baking pan, insides down, with some water in the bottom. Cover with foil and set aside.
Next, it’s time to prep. Make your nut mixture. I used whatever we had around, and then chopped some raisins in for good measure. Set aside. You should also prep the cottage cheese. Mix in about 1/3 of your chopped sage, and put a bunch of freshly cracked pepper in. Set aside.
Cook yer squash! It can go in for about 30 mins, so time it with your rice. You want it to come out a few mins after your rice is done. Then, prep your kale – wash it, rip it into bite-sized bits, and dress it lightly with oil and vinegar if you wish. Arrange on a plate (this will make a little tasty bed for your squash half to sit on).
While the squash is cooking, make your infused butter – melt about 4T (more if you’re doing more or larger squash) of butter in a saucepan, and throw in your chopped herbs. Once it’s nice and melted, cook it like that for several minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t let it burn, although you can go for brown butter if you like.
When the squash is done, remove the foil, drain any water remaining in the casserole dish, and flip the squash inside up, making little boats. Coat the squash with the infused butter, making sure some of the sage bits get on each squash. Put a squash boat on each plate, on top of your bed of kale.
When the rice is done, mix in your nuts and raisins to the rice, and then scoop rice into the hollow of each squash. Top with a few spoonfuls of the cottage cheese, and serve warm!
There’s something pretty great about the creamy sweetness of the squash with the nuttiness of the rice, topped by the cool curdy peppery cottage cheese. It was a great autumn evening meal, and I’m hoping it’ll be good cold tomorrow for lunch.
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