Ratatouille Stuffed Acorn Squash
A light summer stew, ratatouille is way less complicated and stuffy than it sounds. It’s a simple dish to make and versatile too: we’re stuffing acorn squash, but you can also serve it over pasta, or alone with a side of bread, or make a quinoa or cous cous salad with it. Add any herbs you’d like – basil, parsley, and herbs de provence are most common.
- 1.5 lb tomatoes (2 large)
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 10 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large onions, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1-2 assorted bell peppers (green, red, and/or yellow) cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Acorn squash
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch together in a 4-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.
- Coarsely chop tomatoes and transfer to a 5-quart heavy pot with garlic, parsley, basil, and 1/8 cup oil. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
- While sauce is simmering, toss eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook onions, bell peppers, and zucchini in 3 tablespoons oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer veggies into a bowl.
- Pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Add 1/8 cup oil to skillet and cook eggplant over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add vegetables, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to tomato sauce and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
- While the sauce simmers, preheat oven to 400°F and proceed to bake squash.
- Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.
- Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven, fill each squash cavity with ratatouille, and return to oven for another 25-30 minutes.
- Top with Parmesan or goat cheese, let cool 10 minutes, and serve.