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Stuffed Butternut Squash

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash (about 2¼ pounds)
  • 3½ tablespoons canola oil
  • 7 to 8 scallions, trimmed (leaving some green) and minced (1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped freshly peeled ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices firm white bread (about 2 ounces), processed to crumbs in a food processor (1 cup)


Procedures:

The stuffing for this squash is made primarily of the flesh of the squash itself, with garlic, a bit of ginger, and minced scallions added for flavor. (If you are not fond of ginger, use less of it or eliminate it altogether.) Bread crumbs tossed with a little oil and sprinkled on top of the filling become brown and crisp in the oven, and their crunchiness contrasts nicely with the filling.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Split the squash lengthwise in half and remove the seeds. Score the flesh of the squash, making ½-inch-deep cuts through it one way and then the other in a crosshatch pattern. Arrange the squash halves cut side up on a cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large skillet. When it is hot, add the scallions and sauté for 1½ minutes. Mix in the garlic and ginger and set the pan aside.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to gently scoop the flesh from the shells, leaving walls about ¼ inch thick, and add it to the scallions, along with the salt and pepper. Mix well, stirring until the squash flesh and scallions are combined but the mixture is still chunky. Fill the squash shells with the mixture.

Lightly mix the bread crumbs with the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil in a small bowl and sprinkle over the stuffed squash. Arrange the squash halves on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes (a little longer if the stuffing was cool). The crumb mixture should be nicely browned; if it is not, place the squash under a hot broiler for a few minutes.

Cut each of the squash halves in half again and serve. (The skin of the squash is edible.)

by Jacques Pépin

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