Lots of squash around these days. You may have an abundance in your garden and it is certainly available at the farmers’ markets. While they have many similarities, the different varieties do differ a bit in their texture, flavor and ideal use.
As a result, I like to try different ways of fixing these vegetables for my family. Stuffing them is certainly a delicious option.
The stuffing can contain any type of ground meat you like: pork, beef, turkey or a vegetarian meat substitute. Use lots of veggies and seasoning in the stuffing for flavor and not too much bread.
The filling in this recipe makes enough to fill all five of the squashes. I usually make the entire recipe and freeze some of the cooked squash for another meal. You can make this recipe with all zucchini, or all yellow squash or two large squashes.
I use the pork sausage seasoning from Penzey’s but if you do not have pork sausage seasoning available, you can use Italian seasoning and add a little crushed fennel seed to it.
2 medium zucchini
1 large Lebanese Squash
2 small yellow crookneck squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons pork sausage seasoning or Italian sausage seasoning
1 small onion, finely chopped
Half a bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 lb lean ground pork
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Italian seasoned dried breadcrumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese
Note: If you want to make the filling vegetarian, then substitute 2 cups of cooked rice of other grains for the pork.
To prepare the squash:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the Lebanese Squash or a large zucchini squash in half.
For medium zucchini, cut a thin, lengthwise slice from the top of each zucchini.
For the yellow squash, cut the neck and stem ends off.
Using a melon ball scoop or a small serrated spoon, scoop out the insides of the squash. Leave the shells about 1/4 inch thick.
For the yellow squash, carefully remove the flesh from the ends of the squash with a small scoop (See photo for my little scoop that can be purchased at a kitchen gadget store.)
Place the hollowed out squash in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the insides lightly with salt and pepper.
Finely chop the squash flesh and set aside.
To prepare the filling:
In a large saute pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery, chopped squash flesh, tomatoes and pork seasoning.
Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pork and cook until brown and the liquid in the pan evaporates, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the breadcrumbs and set the pan aside to let the mixture cool.
Mound the stuffing mixture into the squash shells and fill the small yellow squash from the ends.
The large halves use 1 cup of stuffing in each. The medium zucchini use ¾ cup stuffing in each and the small yellow squash each use ½ cup of stuffing.
Grate Parmesan cheese over the tops of the filled squash.
For the small yellow squash, add a tablespoon of grated cheese to the filling before stuffing them.
Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the squash are tender and the stuffing is golden brown.