On a recent visit to a farmer’s market, John and I stopped by a vegetable stand that always has the best variety of vegetable species that I’ve never seen before– things like brightly colored Easter radishes or in the case of last Sunday, dark red, almost black long beans. I stopped to ooh and ah over a bunch of little, leek shaped purple onions, telling John how I’m tempted to buy them because sometimes I buy produce “just because they’re pretty.” John motioned towards the bunch of berries I was holding with a look that said, “Duh.” Which is why it should come as no surprise that despite my generally pervasive squash ennui, I totally loved these:
Aren’t they adorable? These are Rond de Nice squash, an heirloom species of zucchini, according to our CSA. Light green and softly striped, I decided that it would be an injustice to hack them to pieces. I wanted to use them in a way that would retain their shape, so even though I already posted one stuffed squash recipe this summer, stuffed is the only way I could see carrying out that goal.
This time, however, the oven was cooperating so no need to cook them on the grill. (On a side note, appreciate these pretty, sunny pictures while you can. Autumn is well, falling fast, in Seattle, and with the fleeting natural light, so falls the quality of my pictures.) I hollowed out the squash by slicing off the tops and using a spoon to scoop out the flesh. I then minced the squash meat and cooked it with some finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Adding a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce to this, all this mixture needed was some seasoning and spices, which came from some fresh oregano from my garden and some fresh basil from the CSA. Well, okay, I lied– the mix needed one other thing: shredded mozzarella so that each bite would be a little gooey. The mixture was then scooped back into the squash shells and piled high with panko crumbs that had been mixed with olive oil to help them brown then were baked until the shells were soft. Like eating a zucchini parmesan in its own cup– these stuffed squash were as tasty as they were cute to look at.
- 4 Rond de Nice squash
- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (yields about 1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1.5 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Slice off tops of each squash, about 1/4 of an inch or so. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and seeds, leaving 1/4 of an inch border. Mince the squash meat and add it along with the onions and garlic to the skillet. Saute until onion is translucent and squash meat is softened, about 7-8 minutes. Stir in oregano, basil, and tomato sauce and simmer until sauce and any water from the squash reduces and the mixture thickens, about 7-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for about 5 minutes before mixing in shredded cheese.
Spoon mixture back into the hallowed out squash, evenly distributing mixture between each squash shell. In a small bowl, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over panko crumbs and mix. Sprinkle tops of squash with panko crumbs. Place stuffed squash on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until crumbs are brown and the squash shells feel soft. Yields 4 side dish servings or 2 light entrees, your choice.
CSA Count: 4
Rond de Nice squash, onion, garlic, basil
Garden Count: 1