Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Squash
Posted by Donna-Marie Pye on
- 2 medium Delicata squash (Acorn or Spaghetti squash will work also)
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup basil pesto
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Pinch dried red chili flakes
- 8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Scrub the squash clean of all dirt in water and using a vegetable brush and dry thoroughly.
- Trim the stem end of the squash then cut in half lengthwise. With a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place in a baking dish. Season cut sides with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, mix together pesto, oregano, spinach, ricotta and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle a little mozzarella cheese in the bottom of each squash, then evenly divide the cheese-spinach mixture between the squash cavities. Top with remaining cheese. Cover the baking dish lightly with foil.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking an additional 15 to 20 minutes until squash is tender and cheese is golden on top.
- Let the squash sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings
ABOUT DELICATA SQUASH
Delicata may not be as familiar as Spaghetti, Acorn or Butternut, but unlike these squash-cousins, Delicata is only available through fall and early winter. They are readily available at farmers markets (check out Good Family Farm locally here in KW) but are often lumped in with the small fall gourds in the larger grocery stores. I suggest you buy a few extras and place them in a cool, dark place (not the fridge). They will keep up to 2 or 3 months.
Here's a few extra tips:
- Also known as sweet potato squash, Delicata has a mild flavour with a creamy, sweet flesh with just a hint of apple.
- It's skin is totally edible, and once cooked, it is soft and totally tasty. This just makes it incredibly easy to prepare because there is no peeling required.
- Look for Delicata squash that have no blemishes on the outside skin. They should feel firm and heavy. Ripe delicata squash is yellow to light orange in colour with green strips along the ribs. Avoid squash that is too light green in colour as they are not ripened.
- Delicata squash is so versatile, it can be prepared in many different ways. Roasting with a little olive oil and honey or maple syrup turns this vegetable into a slice of "candy". It can also be diced and sautéed, stuffed and baked (like this recipe), steamed and even microwaved.