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Acorn squash with beef filling

(Beatrice Peltre for The Boston Globe)
December 16, 2009

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Serves 4

4 acorn squash
1 1/2 cups cooked beef, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups grated hard cheese, such as Gruyere, Comte, or Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup water
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
1. Cut a slice from the top (stem) end of each squash. With a small spoon, scoop out the seeds. Bring a soup pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and let them bubble gently for 12 minutes. Drain and turn upside down on a rack; leave to cool.

2. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have a 12-inch baking dish on hand.

3. When the squash are cool enough to handle, cut a tiny slice from the bottom of each squash so they sit without rocking. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Chop it coarsely and transfer to a bowl.

4. Add the beef, parsley, brown rice, 1 cup of the cheese, salt, and pepper. Divide the meat mixture among the squash, mounding it well. Set them in the baking dish and pour the water in at the sides.

5. Sprinkle the filling with olive oil and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake the squash for 30 minutes or until the cheese is browned and a skewer inserted into the center of the filling is hot to the touch when withdrawn. Béatrice Peltre