Friday, February 3, 2012

Carnival Squash Stuffed with Black Quinoa Pilaf

The squash that caught my eye at the farmstand eariler this week has been sitting on the counter for a few days daring me to do something.  So I tried the combination below and the results were very tasty.  The quinoa pilaf is enough to stuff 2 squash (4 halves).  I will use the leftovers as a side dish, but if leftovers are not desired, scale accordingly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the quinoa.  Black quinoa is to white quinoa as wild rice is to white rice, crunchier with a stronger, nuttier flavor. When using black quinoa it is  especially important to rinse properly to remove  the saphonin dust.  Put


1 c black quinoa


into a fine strainer and run water through it, or stir it in a bowl of cold water and pour it through a clean kitchen towel. Repeat the process until the water runs clear and is no longer sudsy. The amount of rinsing necessary may vary greatly. 


Set the quinoa aside to drain.
Prepare the squash.  Cut in half


1 Carnival squash/per 2 servings


Remove the seeds, I first used a spoon, then scraped with a grapefruit knife. and brush the inside and outside with




Olive oil


Place cut side down in an edged oven-proof dish filled with 1/4 inch water. Place in preheated oven and cook for 30 - 35 minutes (depending on size of squash) until flesh of the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.


While the squash is cooking, in a small skillet, heat


1 T olive oil


and saute the quinoa until it is well coated with the oil.


Place the quinoa in a saucepan or, my preference, a rice cooker and add


1 1/2 c water
1/3 c dried cranberries or cherries


If using a rice cooker, follow instructions. If using a sauce pan bring water to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer until all the water has evaporated.


Wipe out the skillet, add a bit more olive oil and saute until wilted and tender:


2 scallions, sliced thinly
6-8 shitake or crimini mushroomscoarsely chopped
1/3 c pecans, coarsely chopped
2 -3 t chopped fresh sage to taste


When squash and quinoa are cooked, combine the quinoa and mushroom/pecan mixture and stuff each half of squash, finishing with a slight mound of quinoa.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to warm through and crisp top.  Serve garnished with a sprig of sage.


This is really fun to eat!  I was told at the farmstand that the skin of this squash is thin and edible.  Thinking about the acorn squash I usually buy, I was not convinced. Wrong.  Using a sharp knife, the squash is easily sliced and tasty, skin included, when eaten.

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