Autumn on a plate: stuffed baby squash

These little stuffed squashes are not just adorably autumnal, but full of flavour and nutrients too.


Baby Squash Stuffed with Pine Nuts & Currants

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 small acorn squashes or 4 good-sized courgettes
1 tbsp salted capers
30g currants
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
120g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp freshly chopped mint leaves
1-2 tsp grated lemon zest
50g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed
lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
an ovenproof baking dish, oiled

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Method
If using acorn or other small summer squash, just cut off a thin slice from the base so that they stand upright without wobbling, then cut off a lid and scoop out the seeds to make a cavity. If using courgettes, halve them lengthways and, using a teaspoon, remove the seeds in the centre to leave a ‘boat’ shape.

Season the cut surfaces with salt and leave them upside down to drain. In two separate bowls, cover the capers and currants with warm water and leave them to soak.

When the squashes or courgettes have drained for 45-60 minutes, rinse them, pat dry, then steam for 10-12 minutes until just tender. Drain on paper towels. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

Meanwhile, gently fry the onion in 2 tablespoons of the oil with a pinch of salt until soft and sweet, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Drain the capers and currants. Mix the onion and garlic with all the other ingredients except the egg, remaining oil and lemon juice. Season to taste.

Stir in the egg for a firmer stuffing, if desired. Put the squash or courgettes in a baking dish and fill the cavities with the stuffing. Mix together the remaining oil and lemon juice and spoon it over the vegetables. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, basting once, until golden and crisp on top. Serve warm with a Greek-style salad.

Extracted from Home-Grown Harvest: delicious ways to enjoy your seasonal fruit and vegetables (Ryland Peters & Small, €17).

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