On Mondays, my Mom works at the Branford Community Dining Room, a not-for-profit that provides meals to families in need. The wonderful volunteers at the CDR cook up hot meals to be eaten in the Dining Room or deliver to those unable to make it. (I volunteered at the CDR all through high school and the summers I was home from college).This program relies largely on donations. Someone kindly donated more squash that the CDR needed. Due to the excess, my Mom brought home a massive Pattypan Squash for me to use my last night home until Thanksgiving. These squash, that look like flying saucers, are usually about 2 inches in diameter but this one was a good 6 inches across.
So what did I do with this massive squash? I stuffed it of course… with couscous, veggies, fresh basil and whole wheat breadcrumbs. This recipe is easily varied; you can use peppers, tomatoes, eggplants or other types of squash in place of the pattypan. Generally speaking pattypans do not come this large so you would have to stuff 2-3 per person. You can also stick whatever veggies and whatever grain you’d like inside. For example you can go Mexican by stuffing brown rice, black beans, corn and salsa in bell peppers.
Squash—amount varies on number of people and size of squash (1-3 per person)
1 box of couscous (I used Near East Parmesan) or one cup uncooked couscous
1 ¼ cups water
½ an eggplant, cubed
½ bunch asparagus cut into inch pieces
1 portabella mushroom, diced
1 tomato, diced
5 tablespoons of olive oil
6 leaves of fresh basil, julienned
4 tablespoons Feta
4 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
Black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Cut the top off of the squash and scoop out seeds, like you would when carving a jack-o-lantern.
Place squash (in a foil lined pan) in the oven while you prepare the veggies and couscous (but omit this if using peppers or tomatoes). Bring 1 ¼ cup of water and 2 tablespoons (and spice sack if using boxed couscous) to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in couscous, cover and let stand 5 mins until water is absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork. In the mean time, heat a skillet over medium heat with 3 tablespoon of olive oil and chop the veggies. Add the asparagus, mushroom and eggplant to the pan and sauté for 5 min or until they start to lose their firmness.
Stir the cooked veggies, tomato, feta, black pepper and bread crumbs into the couscous, julienne the basil and sir that in as well.
Remove the squash from the oven, stuff it with as much of the couscous mixture as will fit. Sprinkle a little bit of bread crumbs over the top and place back in the oven for 20-30 min, or until the couscous is brown on top and the squash is soft. Plate and enjoy… I’d recommend using a steak knife to cut it. Meat-heads… you could add in some cooked, crumbled sausage to the couscous mixture before stuffing. Because these are individual servings, you could make some with sausage and some without.
On a happy and exiting note to end this post… On Tuesday, Mark finally moved into the apartment! It is so surreal that it was finally (his) move in day; I’ve only been waiting 3 months. Anywho… I’m off to the Geneva Farmers Market!