Summertime and the living is easy..and so is this delightful squash dish. It's great for backyard picnics and neighborhood potlucks.
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 10 to 12
Note: Adapted from Sotera Jaime. Look for smaller squash to avoid large seeds in the filling.
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
2 1/2 lbs. small to medium yellow crookneck squash (about 8 to 10 squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely diced button mushrooms
1 1/2 cups crumbled queso fresco
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
Fresh ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium pot, bring the 2 quarts of water to a boil, then add 2 teaspoons salt and the squash. Reduce the heat and simmer the squash, covered, until they are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 to 10 minutes (timing will vary depending on the size and age of the squash). Drain the squash and chill in a bowl of ice water until cool to the touch.
2. Halve each squash lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh in the center with a spoon, making sure to leave enough flesh near the shell so the shells can be stuffed. Place the scooped flesh in a strainer and set aside to drain for at least 10 minutes to drain excess liquid.
3. While the squash is draining, heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook until they are tender and lightly browned, another 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the drained squash flesh (don't worry if it is still moist, it will not be completely dry) and stir well to combine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and set the squash filling aside to cool slightly.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the squash filling, queso fresco and 1/4 cup parsley. Stir well and season with a generous 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper.
5. Divide the filling into the squash shells. Place the shells in a large baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until hot and lightly browned in spots, 25 to 35 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of parsley and serve.
Each of 12 servings: 120 calories; 7 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 5 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 96 mg. sodium.
Stuffed summer squash
It's summer -- squash is plentiful. Enjoy!
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / April 16, 2014)