Acorn Squash Filled with Mushroom Orzo
I developed a bit of a collection of acorn squash varieties as a consequence of getting lots of them in my winter CSA boxes. They were so pretty in their oranges, greens, yellows and even speckles that I was enjoying them too much as kitchen ornamentation. We returned home from a Thanksgiving weekend in Michigan on a Saturday morning with a mission to set the house aglow with Christmas conviviality. I wanted a dinner that was simple that night, but I was also longing for something that wasn’t heavy after a weekend of gravy and Cool Whip. It was time repurpose my lovely squash from décor to dinner.
My whole family really enjoyed the way that the sweetness of the squash mingled with the earthiness of the mushrooms. The textures were interesting too- the denser bite of the bean contrasting with the smoothness of the pasta and the fibrousness of the squash.
3 whole acorn squash
1 tablespoon cooking oil
½ cup uncooked orzo
4 cups sliced mushrooms of any kind
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or mashed
1 cup dried beans that have been cooked or 1 can drained beans (any kind of beans work here , though I really like a large white bean, such as cannellini)
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 ½ cups grated Asiago cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan to finish
Prepare the squash
- Put on a pot of water to boil for the orzo.
- Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Slice squash lengthwise. Using a soup spoon or teaspoon, scrape out and discard the seeds and fibers from the cavity. It is fine to leave little bits of residual fiber. You won’t get it completely perfect.
- Place oil in a small bowl. Brush the insides of the squash with a light sheen of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place squash on a baking sheet. If you have any squash that don’t sit up properly like the little bowls we’ll need them to be, make a “snake” about of aluminum foil and wrap it around the base of the squash to prop it up. Bake the squash in the oven until they are totally tender when pierced with a fork, about 30-45 minutes.
Prepare the stuffing
- While the squash roasts, cook and drain the orzo. Rinse with cold water until the orzo are totally cool. You need to do this because otherwise they’ll from a clumpy mass as they cool.
- Over medium-high heat, sauté mushrooms, shallot and garlic until the mushrooms are cooked through and are no longer giving off moisture. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Stuff the squash
- When the squash is done, return the pan with the mushrooms in it to medium-low heat. Add the orzo, beans, sage and asiago and stir to combine and warm through.
- Spoon the stuffing into the cavities of the roasted squash and top with freshly grated Parmesan.