“Risotto”-Stuffed Acorn Squash

This recipe strays from the traditional method of cooking risotto to create a healthy and hearty meal without investing a lot of time!  Impress your guests with the fancy squash bowls!

Category:

Ingredients

2 acorn squash (1 pound each)

3 tbsp olive oil

½ lbscremini or button mushrooms, trimmed & diced

1 med yellow onion, diced (leeks can be used as well)

¾ tsp dried thyme (if using fresh thyme, use less)

1 cup long grain white rice (brown rice can be used as well, may require more cooking time)

2 cups vegetable broth *

½ cup grated parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.**
  2. Carefully cut the squash into two halves crosswise.Scrape out the seeds and ‘guts’ of the squash.
  3. Place squash on baking sheet, cover with foil, and place in oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes until soft.
  4. Sauté onions, mushrooms, and thyme over medium-high heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook vegetables until soft, the mushrooms will shrink slightly.
  5. Add rice to pan, stir. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Once rice is boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook UNDISTURBED for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Check on the squash.  Once done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out approximately half of the cooked squash from the shells and place into a bowl, leaving enough flesh on the sides to keep the shells sturdy.  Set aside.
  8. Once rice is cooked (water will be absorbed), stir in the scooped squash.  The squash should give a ‘creamy’ texture to the rice – this is why we call it a ‘risotto’. ***
  9. Stuff the squash shells that you set aside earlier with the rice mixture.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.  Broil in oven until the cheese is nicely melted. MAKE SURE TO KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE – this process does not take long!  (This step is optional – if pinched for time, just serve the rice mixture on plates and sprinkle with parmesan cheese) 

*Vegetable broth can easily be prepared from scratch by using scrap pieces of vegetables and placing them in a saucepan or slow cooker with some water.  Let everything cook until flavours of the vegetables blend with the liquid.

**If you want to have the squash ready ahead of time, or for when you get home from work, cut the squash into halves, remove the seeds, and place in the slow-cooker. DO NOT ADD LIQUID. Place lid on top and cook, undisturbed, for 6-8 hours.

***This entire recipe can be prepared in the slow cooker.  Cook the squash halves in advance using either the slow cooker or oven as stated above.  If you have time, sauté the vegetables ahead of time, but this is not necessary.  Place vegetable stock, vegetables, rice, and seasoning in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for several hours; make sure the stock is absorbed.  Mix in the scooped out squash once the rice is cooked. Add more seasoning is necessary. Enjoy!