The very simple stuffing for this butternut squash is made primarily of the flesh of the squash itself. Garlic, a bit of ginger, and chopped scallions are added for flavor. If you are not fond of ginger, which gives this combination its unusual taste, you may want to 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 crunchy texture contrasts nicely with the creaminess of the filling.
1 large butternut squash, about 2-1/4 pounds
3-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
About 8 scallions, minced (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 small slices bread, processed in a food processor to make 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Split the squash in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Score the flesh of the squash, making 1/2-inch deep cuts through it one way and then the other (in a checker-board pattern). Arrange the squash halves cut side up on a cookie sheet, and place them in the 400-degree oven for about 60minutes, until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the scallions and saute them for 1-1/2 minutes. Mix in the garlic and ginger, and set the pan aside off the heat.
4. When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to gently scoop the flesh from the shells (reserving the shells), and add it to the scallions along with the salt and pepper. Mix well, stirring until the squash flesh and scallions are well combined but the mixture is still chunky. Fill the reserved shells with the mixture.
5. In a small bowl, lightly mix the bread crumbs with the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil, and sprinkle the mixture over the stuffed squash. Arrange the squash halves on a cookie sheet, and place them in the 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes (a little longer if the stuffing is cool). The crumb mixture on top should be nicely browned, if it is not, place the squash under a hot broiler for a few minutes.
6. Cut each of the squash halves in half again, and serve one piece per person.
Note: The skin of shell of the squash is edible.
From Jacques Pepin's Kitchen: Encore with Claudine, by Jacques Pepin.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new, and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. You have the power to keep us cooking, sharing these stories, and helping you in the kitchen.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table.