Stuffed Butternut Squash

 

By 11:30 last night the kitchen was back to pre-party condition, save for a packed refrigerator.  Even with my friends taking home some of the leftovers I won’t have need to cook for a week.  Did I mention I cooked my favorite bolognese ragú with 10 pounds of meat?  For 10 people?  My fear of not having enough food got the better of me again; I had to cook the sauce in two pots.  The main course included slow-cooked short ribs, broiled salmon and a salad (the planned roast veggies never made it to the oven) but the highlight was to be the lasagne, another personal favorite.  Having just learned to make fresh pasta, I thought it would be fun to serve my friends a meal made entirely from scratch.  The pasta-making experience was even more enjoyable this time around and by Saturday afternoon I was ready to assemble the lasagne so all I would have to do is pop the pans in the oven when my guests arrived.  However, a final search for tips on using fresh pasta in lasagne yielded results that had me reconsidering my menu at the eleventh hour.

I came across a cooking forum with members saying that fresh pasta in lasagne was only good right out of the oven.  Several commenters said that leftover lasagne did not reheat well, that the pasta got soggy.  Of course there were a few other members on the same thread that said this was simply not the case but the seed was planted in my head.  I became fearful that layering the pasta sheets between the ragú and bechamel sauce a few hours ahead of time would compromise my main course.

So I waited.  I let the pasta sheets dry on the counter for a couple of hours, flipping each of the 16 sheets whenever I walked by.  After a couple of hours the edges of the sheets curled up, some of them looking like boats.  They dried enough for me to feel that I might have prevented the sogginess problem but I couldn’t help wondering if my preventive measure also rendered my effort of preparing fresh pasta completely futile?  One hour before my guests arrived–bechamel sauce done, the pasta cooked–I almost scrapped the lasagne idea and considered using dried spaghetti instead.  Encouraged by my husband to proceed, I served the lasagne anyway and my friends not only had seconds but they also requested to take some home.  And guess what?  I reheated a serving this morning for a late breakfast–the pasta was as good as the night before.  Would someone please explain to me why I worry so much about these things?  Things always end up working out.

You might wonder what this has to do with today’s recipe.  Nothing at all except that you won’t have any angst at all preparing this foolproof dish.  This was my eve-of-the-party dinner.  I wanted to clean out the refrigerator to make room for the party food.  Leftover rice, beets, sage and shallots ended up in my roasted butternut squash.  If had mushrooms and pancetta and/or pine nuts, they would have ended up in the mix, too.  I used turmeric to season the rice but curry powder or other flavor combinations would work just as well.  Have a ball mixing things up–it will be a stress-free experience, I promise.

 

 

5.0 from 7 reviews

Stuffed Butternut Squash
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The options are without limits for stuffing roasted butternut squash.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash (small), split in half
  • 1 cup leftover cooked rice (I had a combination of red and white here)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 golden beets, diced small
  • 5-6 pieces fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 dashes turmeric powder
  • salt, to taste
  • Zest of half lemon (optional)
  • Splash of stock (optional)
  • Olive oil for sautéing
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Brush the inside of the butternut squash with olive oil. Set both halves on a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes; the squash should be a little tender at this point.
  2. In a small pan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the shallots, sage and beets and cook them for about 3 minutes. Add the turmeric (and lemon zest if using) and cook for another minute or two. Add a splash of stock if using. This was my of keeping the rice from drying out too much. Season with salt, turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. When the squash has been cooking for about 30 minutes, divide the stuffing mixture between the butternut squash halves. Return to the oven and bake until the squash is tender, another 25-30 minutes depending on the size of your squash.

 

 

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Comments

  1. So happy that your dinner party was a smash hit! You sound just like me – I make WAY too much food, but I just never want my guests to go hungry. I am super impressed that you had the kitchen cleaned by 11:30pm – nicely done. Your bolognese sounds supreme – hubby is a huge fan of this and I need to make it soon for him. Your squash dish looks beautiful and a perfect light snack! Lovely photos!!

  2. Oh I love the idea of using rice in a stuffed dish. And there is a lot of the meat of the squash in the oblong part so you get the best of both worlds!

  3. I love the look of this! In fact I stumbled upon your blog while I was looking for a bit of inspiration for squid ink pasta and have done a bit of exploring, and just really enjoy the lay out and your beutiful photos! Will give this dish a try sometime soon :)

  4. The squash I can definitely do – and it looks fabulous. I love it when you can put together a sensational dish from what’s in the fridge. Glad to hear that, in the end, everything turned out excellent for your dinner party :)

  5. A party at your place is a real event! I love butternut squash any way anyone can prepare it. This looks amazing.

  6. ok, so first of all kudos for making hand made pasta and figuring out the “drying” issue!!!
    second…this stuffed squash is gorgeous. I love it, and might quite have to make it as a side on Thanksgiving.

  7. I tend to over-think (and over worry) when it comes to just about anything…including cooking and baking. As frustrating as the tendency is, I think it’s better to anticipate every probability. *Gosh, that sounds so analytical.* In a nut shell, Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. (It even takes me 10 minutes to leave a comment.) :D

    This butternut squash is beautiful! I usually use this particular squash in soups so I’m definitively bookmarking this recipe!

  8. Your dinner party sounds like so much fun – we need to have a blogger dinner, I think! :) I love butternut squash, this sounds so good!

  9. A wonderful dish! Comforting and really tasty. A great way of using leftovers.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  10. I’m sure your guests were so impressed with your homemade lasagna – and I love you used up your extras to make these beautiful stuffed squashes!

  11. You’re killing me with this stuffed squash and I read this post like it was a suspense thriller- dying to know what happened with the lasagna???? I’m glad your dinner party was such a success but I think I kinda knew it would be ;-)

  12. This is an awesome recipe. I call this one pot meal. Rice, veggies and all the flavors packed in one. YUM!

  13. I discovered Butternut Squash a few years ago , and it has become my favorite fall ingredient. I simply can’t get enough of it. Now if only I could convince the rest of the family to love it as much as I do I wouldn’t have to cook for them and then for me. I think I love everything about this one!!

  14. Love this season stuffed squash with a couple of types of rice Jean. Turmeric, beet and shallots are an interesting new to me combinations. Hurricane sandy is making me super famished! :)

  15. I think you could have layered it and then let it rest. When I saw it being made in Italy, it was made in the afternoon and only cooked that evening when went back to eat it.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Suzanne, I was hoping someone would confirm if layering ahead of time was okay to do. Thanks for that. I’ll do it that way next time. :)

  16. I will keep your story in mind when I venture out to make my own fresh lasagna sheets. Jean, I totally get what you are saying about worrying too much when throwing parties – are there enough food? will my dish work out or fail? etc. And I find that the more we know (via internet, forums, etc.), the more we worry…I’m glad, though, that the lasagna worked out well! I’m sure it delicious since people had “baon” / take-home afterwards. LOL!

  17. Wow, sounds like quite a party Jean, and I would have worried just as much. When you have a cooking blog that last thing you want to do is mess up your dinner with friends…I totally get it. So glad it all worked out great. I love the stuffed squash it looks great and filling!

  18. 10 pounds of meat! Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much meat in my kitchen before. :D I’m glad to hear the dinner went successful (but we are talking about Jean here, so of course!). I love these butternut squash and I love that you stuffed half side. SO pretty!

  19. Homemade pasta, stuffed squash, ribs, lasagne… I need to move closer to you! ;-) I love this stuffing …beets are my favorite this time of year. Beautiful dish!

  20. I second guess things all the time. I just need to learn to go with my gut, and not over think it. Glad your lasagna worked out! This squash looks comforting and perfect for fall!

  21. These look so yummy. I haven’t stuffed pumpkins (squash) before but it looks delicious. My brother in law drizzles them with maple syrup and bakes them until soft. Yum!

  22. That is allot of food…amazing food I might add! Glad your pasta dish turned out well, it can be confusing with so many opinions out there. My experience is that it is always as good the next day, if not better, even fresh :)

    And I adore this stuffed squash dish, what an amazing use of what is on hand!

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