Sometimes it's hard to know what to make for the holidays when you have vegetarians in the crowd. Very filling, and full of flavor, these stuffed squashes won over my teen as he kept wandering in the kitchen to nibble as I cooked. The squash becomes creamy and melds right into the stuffing, which is just heavenly.
2 smallish sized acorn squash
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup celery, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I took a hunk of freshly baked French bread and whirred it up in my food processor)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp of salt (I used about 1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Carefully cut out a wedge in each squash, about 1/3 of it's size. This is a bit tricky because squash are hard and it's easy to cut yourself. Scoop out the seeds and cut a thin slice off each squash to level them out a bit, with the cut side up.
Put the squash in a microwave save dish and microwave on high for 12-15 minutes, until they are tender.
Peel and dice up the bits of squash that you had cut off, and set aside.
In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then fry up the diced squash, onion, and celery until they are soft and slightly browned. Add in the minced garlic and mushrooms, continuing to cook for about another 3 minutes. If you choose to add tomato paste, add it now and combine well. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
In a bowl combine the bread crumbs, sunflower seeds, cheese, onion mixture, salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir and then stuff it all into the cooked squash wedges, mounding it up. I never thought I'd fit all that stuffing into the squash, but I did. Transfer the wedges to a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 450 F oven for about 7-10 minutes, until they are heated through and golden.
Adapted from Canadian Living