How do you stuff an acorn, you ask?
Well, its really acorn squash, which allows you a bit more room!
Last Friday night we realized we had an abundance of fall veggies from our CSA box in the fridge. Acorn squash, collard greens, bok choy, potatoes, turnips, just to name a few. So, in order to have a hearty fall dinner and also plow through some of our delicious veggies, I found two recipes to try some fun new flavor combos.
The salad recipe has several strong flavors: crisp peppery radicchio, tangy persimmon, and citrusy vinagrette. Its a salad that stands alone, thats for sure! The pear mellows it out a bit, though, and it definitely awakens your palatte during this time of fall comfort food. We ate it as a first course without worrying too much about flavor pairings, and I think it was pretty successful. It was crisp and interesting and I would certainly make it again.
Our main dish, the acorn squash is also an interesting mix of flavors. I used bok choy in the stuffing, which may seem an odd choice of greens to some. I love bok choy as I’ve cooked with it more and more lately. I like its mellow flavor and the fact that it stands up well to being cooked. It doesn’t change color or get bitter as mustard/collard greens tend to. It almost always keeps the dish tasting fresh but without too much fuss or pizzazz. Add some soft cheese and a little nutmeg, and there were a round grouping of flavors whose texture contrasted nicely with the firm squash. Again, highly recommend. Plus, it was super easy even though it might read as if it takes a bit of effort, I made the whole shebang in under 40 minutes.
Recipe #1: Pear and Persimmon Salad
Adapted from our CSA provided recipe from their blog, Good Food Life
2 Fuyu permsimmons, peeled and chopped
1 Pear, cored and chopped (I leave the peel on)
1 small head radicchio (from our yard!!)
2-3 romaine leaves, chopped
1/2 t minced orange zest
2 T juice squeezed from orange
1 t honey
1 t red wine vinegar (the actual reciped called for Champagne vinegar which might be better but I used what I had)
1/4 t salt
3 T olive oil
Loosely chop romaine and radicchio and place in shallow bowls. Arrange Persimmons and Pears on top.
In a small bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients except for the oil. When well combined, whisk in the oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Pour over salad and serve.
Recipe #2: Acorn Squash Pasta Bowls*
1 acorn squash
1/2 pound penne pasta
4 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (found near the ricotta at your grocery)
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg (great if fresh, its ok if not)
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
4 grinds black pepper
1 oz crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
2 T. fresh parsley, minced (for garnish. I am lazy and skipped this step)
Slice the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Drizzle the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper. You will have to turn the squash in your hands to get all of the insides covered. Roast squash in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes or until fork tender.
In the last 20 minutes of roasting, start the ingredients for your stuffing. In a saute pan with a small bit of olive oil, cook onion and garlic over medium heat until onion is clear. Add in chopped bok choy and cook until slightly wilted. At the same time, boil your pasta until al dente and add drained pasta to vegetable mixture with 1 tbsp warm pasta water.
Add mascarpone, half your blue cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stir slowly until cheeses are incorporated into a sauce and noodles are coated.
Spoon pasta into squash so that it is mounded slightly, but not spilling over the edge. Top with the remaining blue cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if you are extra fancy. Serves 2.
* I was actually glad to find a recipe like this similar to one I heard Dorie Greenspan talk about on NPR a couple weeks back. Not quite as cheesy or decadent, but a good fairly healthy alternative!
So, in these two easy dishes, we managed to use a lot of things from our veggie stash: Persimmon, Pear, Radicchio, Orange, Bok Choy, Onion, and Squash!