Home Cooking Recipes
home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes
Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour


Are you still awash with squash?

Squash and apples have a lot in common. Some varieties of both are available all year round and there seem to be almost as many varieties of squash as there are of apples. Best of all, they are both versatile--you can do a lot of good things with either one. But, if you have summer squash vines of any kind they just go on producing long after you have tried every recipe in your book(s). You can talk to your plants and tell them to knock it off but you'll have better luck if you pray for a good, hard frost. Here are a few more palate pleasers using various varieties of squash to squash into your recipes-that-I-will-try-someday collection.


Nicoise-Stuffed Round Zucchini

This recipe can also be used for stuffed baked tomatoes--just skip the blanching.

6 round zucchinis
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
2 egg yolks
9 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups of cooked rice, Arborio rice, preferred*
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Take each zucchini and cut the top off 1-inch below the stem end. Reserve the top and scoop out most of the interior flesh. Chop and set aside. In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch each squash for about 1 minutes; rinse under cold water. In a sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the bell pepper and sauté until tender. Combine the creme fraiche, egg yolks, 6 tablespoons of cheese, chopped zucchini, cooked rice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle each with remaining cheese and replace tops. Bake for 25 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle olive oil over each and serve. Makes 6 servings.


Yellow Squash with Basil

A quick and easy dish done on top of the range. The recipe can also be used for zucchini or any other thin-skinned summer squash.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, or 1 tablespoon dried

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Then add half of squash and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer browned squash to a bowl, then heat remaining tablespoon of oil and sauté remaining squash in the same manner. Return squash in bowl to skillet. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add water, salt, and pepper and simmer briskly, covered, until squash is tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in basil. Makes 4 servings.


Spaghetti Squash Fried Cakes

To bake squash: Pierce shell in several places, set on foil and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Turn over and bake until shell gives to pressure, 15 to 25 minutes longer. Cool, cut in half and discard seeds. Scrape out strands of squash with tines of a fork. They separate and look like golden spaghetti.

2 large eggs
3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, or use powdered
1 cup minced scallions, including tops
2 tablespoons salad oil
Soy sauce

Beat eggs; add squash, ginger and green onions; mix gently. Pour 1 tablespoon oil into 12-inch frying pan on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add squash mixture in 1/4-cup mounds, spacing about 3-inches apart. With back of a spoon, spread mounds to make cakes that are 3-inches in diameter. Cook until golden brown on the bottoms, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn and cook other side until golden. Sprinkle or brush with soy sauce to taste. Makes 12 pancakes or 6 servings of vegetable to accompany a meal.


Pizza made with Zucchini Dough

The crust is actually made with zucchini. This open-ended recipe can be made with different cheeses and herbs; any kind of mushroom can also be used.

Crust
3 medium summer squash such as zucchini
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup flour, plus more as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons finely sliced basil, or herbs of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Milk, if needed
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

Topping
1 cup tomato sauce, homemade or commercial
1 cup coarsely grated mixed mozzarella, manchego and Jack cheese or other melting cheeses
Sliced mushrooms, optional
Sausage, pepperoni, or any other meat, optional

Crust: Coarsely grate squash, sprinkle with the salt and place in a colander for 20 minutes to drain. Heat a pizza stone (if you have one) in 500 F. oven. Squeeze as much water as possible from the grated zucchini. Place in a bowl with the beaten eggs, flour, Parmesan and basil. Season. The dough should be the consistency of heavy pancake batter. If it is too thin, add a little more flour; if it's too stiff, add a little milk. Sprinkle the pizza stone or your pizza pan of any kind with cornmeal, then pour on the zucchini batter and, using a spatula, spread evenly, leaving about 1/2-inch edge clear. Reduce heat to 425 F. and bake until crust is golden, about 20 minutes.

Topping: Spread tomato sauce over the crust, then pile on the cheese and mushrooms, meat or whatever else you have crying to be used. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, bubbling and getting brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into wedges and serve immediately. Serves 6 as an appetizer; 3 for supper or lunch.

No more squash talk until summer 2006. That's a promise!

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