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There are two failproof ways to dress up a food item that you are either not so fond of or are tired of eating. One involves covering the item in question with cheese. The other, invariably, involves sausage.

Now, I like squash. A lot. But we have eaten a lot of it this summer, and so I decided to come up with a fun way to serve it up. I combined sweet turkey Italian sausage with bell peppers, arugula, garlic, and fennel seed, added some jarred pasta sauce, and voila! We had epic stuffed squash. If you have any leftover sauce after stuffing your squash, save it to top spaghetti.

After the squash finished baking, I spotted some Pure Luck parsley and garlic chevre (which you can buy from Greenling) in the fridge and dotted our servings with it. It turned out to be a great final touch — just added a bit of tanginess to the sweet sauce. I’m listing the chevre as an optional ingredient, but I highly recommend it if you have some lying around.

Sausage-Stuffed Squash

4 summer squash (I used two 8-ball and two yellow)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bell peppers, finely chopped
1 bunch arugula, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz pkg sweet turkey Italian sausage
1 tbsp fennel (anise) seed
24 oz jar pasta sauce (I used Classico Tomato Basil)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chevre (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tops off of the 8-ball squash and scoop out the innards, leaving a thin rind. Halve the yellow squash and do the same. Be sure to get all of the seeds.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casing and add to skillet, stirring to crumble. Add peppers, garlic, arugula, and fennel seed. Cook 10-15 minutes, until sausage is browned, veggies are tender, and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add pasta sauce and cook another 5 minutes or so, until heated through.

Using a small spoon, fill squash with sauce. Bake for 25 minutes, until squash is tender. Dot with crumbled chevre, if using.

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So, I’ve been getting a ton of squash and zucchini from the garden. Now, I like squash and zucchini, but I was getting tired of just putting them in salads. Then HEB came through, as always. When I was shopping last week I came across this in the condiment aisle:

And I thought, why not use it as a dip for squash and zucchini slices? So I tried it out, and this is now my current favorite snack.

And speaking of the garden, I got my first tomato! It’s a yellow plum:

I just popped it into my mouth right there. Man, I do love summer. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

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I knew I’d be making this recipe as soon as I saw the bounty of squash we received in our last box. It’s one of my favorites, and I’ve made a few modifications to incorporate some ingredients I had on hand. Fresh squash and baby onions mix with an oregano-parsley pesto, cheese, and brown-butter breadcrumbs to make a dish that’s fresh and decadent. Yum.

Now, as written, this recipe can be time-consuming, but I’m including some suggestions at the bottom to facilitate weeknight cooking.


Summer Squash Gratin (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

zest of one lemon
2 pounds summer squash or zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 baby onions (about 3-4 in. in diameter), thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups fresh bread crumbs*
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (or Swiss cheese)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Rub a 13×9 baking dish with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, and set aside.

Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes (to drain a bit — this softens them up and makes them cook more quickly) and go on to prepare the pesto and bread crumbs.

Make the pesto by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.

Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about five minutes until the butter is fragrant and has turned brown. It will smell deliciously nutty. Stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.

Transfer the squash and onions to a large mixing bowl. Add the oregano pesto. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half of the bread crumbs and toss again. Taste one of the zucchini pieces and add more seasoning (salt or red pepper) if needed.

Transfer the squash mixture to the lemon-zested pan, top with the remaining crumbs, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes When the dish is finished, you’ll be able to slide a fork easily into the zucchini.

Serves about 8 as a side.

*To make breadcrumbs, tear bread into pieces the size of your thumb, and pulse in a food processor. I like my breadcrumbs a bit larger than the ones you buy at the store, about the size of small pebbles. You can certainly use store-bought breadcrumbs instead of making your own, but reduce the amount to 1 cup, as these are much finer than homemade ones.

To facilitate weeknight cooking, do the following:

  • Use store-bought pesto instead of making your own. Basil would be good, but I’ve seen a Classico sun-dried tomato pesto that I’d love to try.
  • Slice the squash and onions and grate the cheese the night before.
  • Use store-bought breadcrumbs (see note above).

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