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 lbs whole tomatoes
10 basil leaves (torn in half)
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onions (quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise)
1-2 pepper, seasonal bell variety of the week (cut into 1-inch pieces)
2 medium zucchini, seasonal variety of the week ( quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick pieces)
1/4 teaspoon medium ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oilShop this recipe
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. While sauce is simmering, toss eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink 30 minutes.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. While the sauce simmers, preheat oven to 400°F and proceed to bake squash.
8. 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.
9. Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 35 minutes.
10. Remove from oven, fill each squash cavity with ratatouille, and return to oven for another 25-30 minutes.
11. Top with Parmesan or goat cheese, let cool 10 minutes, and serve.