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Delicata Squash Boats with Red Rice Stuffing

The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations by Kim O'Donnel

  • Celebrate autumn—or any day you have winter squash—with these tasty vessels of red rice stuffing. Clare Barboza

Serves 6-8

1½ cups water
1 cup Bhutanese or other red rice (or your favorite long-grain rice)
3 to 4 delicata squash (about 1 pound each)
⅛ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup unsalted shelled pistachios, chopped (or walnuts, almonds or pecans)
⅓ cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Zest of ½ lemon or orange, plus 1 or 2 squeezes of the juice
⅛ teaspoon ground chili pepper of choice

Bring the water and the rice to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer, 20 to 25 minutes (amount of liquid needed and cooking times may vary depending on the type of rice used). The rice will be done when the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender to the bite.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim both ends of each squash and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and the attached pulp. Brush both sides of each squash with the olive oil, and season the inside to taste with salt and pepper.

Roast the squash, cut side up, until easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes, and remove from the oven. Lower the oven heat to 350 F (175 C).

While the squash roasts, make the filling: Transfer the rice to a large mixing bowl and add the ⅛ cup of olive oil and the parsley, nuts, dried fruit, fennel seeds, ginger, citrus zest and chili pepper. Stir until the rice is coated with the oil and the ingredients are well mixed. Add the ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, stir, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Fill each squash half with about ¼ cup of the filling. Return to the oven and heat for about 15 minutes, until the filling is warmed through.

Serve immediately, or lower the oven temperature to 225 F (107 C), cover with foil, and hold until ready to serve.

Notes

  • There's enough filling for eight servings (one squash half per person). For a party of six, you'll have more than a cup of extra filling, which you can bring to the table.
  • Dried squash seeds are a treat for backyard birds.

(Recipe courtesy of Kim O'Donnel, author of The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations.)

Nutrition

All figures are per serving (assumes 6 servings).

Calories: 309
Fat: 10 g 
Carbs: 80 g
Fiber: 10 g
Protein: 9 g
Sodium: 186 mg

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