Sunday, 16 August 2009

Stuffed Summer Squash

Another lovely find in the organic box: yellow summer squash. The following main course, being vegan, is incredibly tasty but not very filling, so you need quite a lot of it - one reason why eating vegan/vegetarian food is not exactly cheap. What you see on the photos was just about enough for two of us. Adding grated cheese to the rice and/or topping the dish with cheese, such as parmesan or pecorino, would help alleviate that :)

2-3 smallish summer squash, halved and flesh scooped out

Herby rice:

1/2 large mug of brown rice
1 1/1 large mugs of cold water
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
2tbsp shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
2-3tbsp fresh herbs, roughly chopped - here, I used equal amounts of basil, rocket and coriander
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Tomato salsa
250g cherry plum tomatoes, quartered
1 shallot, very finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
tabasco or chopped chilli, optional

1. Heat some olive oil in saucepan. Add the chilli, 2/3 of the garlic and onions and soften over a medium-low heat. Add the rice and stir until the rice is well coated with the mix. Pour in the water and add some coarse sea salt. Put the lid on and simmer until the rice is cooked.

2. Meanwhile, split the sqash in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Set aside.

3. Chop into small chunks. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the squash with the remaining garlic over quite a high heat until browned all over. Season with black pepper (I didn't use any salt) and transfer into a bowl, if necessary lined with paper towel to drain of excessive oil.

4. Mix the cherry tomatoes, season with pepper (again I don't add salt) and tabasco/chilli if used. Leave to marinate.

5. Once the rice is cooked, drain off any remaining liquid. Season with pepper and add the pistachios, browned squash flesh and chopped herbs. Mix and check the seasoning.

6. Season the squash shells with pepper and salt and spoon to rice mixture into them.

7. Set on a lightly oiled oven proof dish, cover with tin foil and place in the middle of the oven at gas mark 6/200-220°C for about 40 minutes or until the squash are tender.

Serve with the tomato salsa and, optionally, a zesty salad.

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