Before Li'l G was born, at least one person told me straight out that the craziness of two kids would make me give up cooking and we'd be surviving on pasta and chicken fingers. I seem to have taken that as a personal challenge. Today the baby was amenable enough to nap for a whole hour, so I started a batch of this tangy-sweet bread, made two kinds of baby food, and prepped two experimental dishes I'm making for dinner. This is not the most sensible use of my precious free time, I know, but it helps keep me (legally!) sane. Laundry? What laundry?
To get to the point, last night I summoned up a new dish that will have the honor of going into regular rotation round these parts. Last month I visited a local food consignment shop (such a cool idea), where I bought these adorable sweet dumpling squash that happened to be seriously delicious as well. They roast up so quickly in the oven, and the shop owner mentioned that if you go and fill the squash with good stuff, you could have a one-dish meal on your hands. So here's what I did, and it was a big hit. Sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy, tangy--this dish is greater than the sum. They went so fast I didn't even get to take photos.
Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash
3 sweet dumpling squash or small winter squash
3 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
1 cup cheese, grated (I used a young goat gouda, but you could use parmesan or crumbled chevre)
¼ cup chopped parsley
salt, pepper, herbs de provence
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut squashes in half and scoop out the seeds, then rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and cool.
Meanwhile, roughly cube the bread and whizz in the food processor to make breadcrumbs. Heat 2T olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, then toss the crumbs with the oil and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the breadcrumbs from the pan and add the remaining 1T oil. Saute the onions until translucent, just a few minutes, then add the pepper and herbs and cook for another couple of minutes.
Turn on the broiler. Combine breadcrumbs with sautéed vegetables, cheese, and parsley, then spoon the filling into each squash half. Don’t be shy; mound it up as much as you like. Place the pan under the broiler, either on low or about 6 inches away from the flame, for about 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and the topping turns golden. Enjoy with some wild rice and wilted fall greens.
Serves about 4, fewer if you're really hungry.