Squash is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It is rich in minerals and vitamins, and low in fat. In summer, it is, to put it mildly, plentiful.
It can taste bland sometimes, though, and boring. Here’s a tasty way to serve the round squash that are about the size of the softball. This recipe is for two, which I use as a side dish.
2 Summer Squash
1/4 c bread crumbs (I like Panko but you can use your own homemade, or Progresso makes a nice bread crumb)
1 garlic clove or to taste
1 small white onion
2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley (approx, or to taste)
2 Tbs (or to taste) fresh basil leaves
6 sundried tomato slices, chopped
2 generous Tsp goat cheese
1 Tbs olive oil or vegetable oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
With a sharp knife, cut off the tops of the squash. Using a spoon or a melon-baller, carve out the inside. Leave a thick enough wall to keep the squash from breaking when you pick it up (about a quarter-inch). Put the squash you’ve scooped out in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
The bunch of basil in the back is just for decoration, although I did use leaves from it. The ones in front are the tops.
You can also brush the hollowed out squash body with olive oil if you want. Put the squashes in a glass or ceramic baking pan. If you want to, it doesn’t hurt to add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan.
Using a food processor, or a mini-chop, or knives if you are really good, finely mince the garlic, onion, herbs and squash together.
Chop the tomato slices into rough chunks (it looks more rustic that way)
The biggest chunks here are about the size of a nickel, which works for me but can be a little overpowering. I like it best when the chunks are chocolate-chip sized.
Pour olive oil into a hot saute pan. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the squash mixture and reduce heat to medium high. Add the tomatoes. Stir frequently. This is to “sweat” the onions (they will become translucent), and also to cook off some of the moisture in the squash. After about four minutes, sprinkle in the bread crumbs and mix. Turn off the heat and add the goat cheese, mixing it in thoroughly.
Here is the pulverized squash mixture. Stir in the tomato.
“But I hate goat cheese!” No problem. This recipe works great with shredded or grated Romano or Parmesan. If you use those cheeses, be very sure you have turned off the heat or the cheese will bond to the bottom of your pan. Ask me how I know this. Just ask.
That is not Romano cheese! Those are the breadcrumbs. Stir them in and let them absorb some of the moisture, before turning off the heat and adding the cheese.
Spoon the mixture into the squashes, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes. You can cook the tops separately and put them on top like jaunty little caps, or garnish with your favorite fresh herb.
There they are, cute and tasty.
The goat cheese and the tomatoes create a sharp, tangy flavor enhanced by the basil; the cheese gives it some creaminess, and the subtle nutty flavor of the squash comes through at the end.