Monday, January 26, 2009

Roasted acorn squash stuffed with cheese tortellini

Listen up people, this recipe is beyond tasty. I made it for 6 people last night and it got rave reviews. I am very bummed that I did not take a picture of my dish (I am borrowing this pic from google, shhhh) because I added a couple of other ingredients that made the dish soar and look fantastic.

First of all, I made the pasta. You can certainly used store bought for this but I am big into my fresh pasta these days. Also, I am abandoning ricotta in my stuffed pasta. It's not as gratifying as other cheeses so I used a mixture of an egg yolk, parsley, fontina, parmesan and romano cheese. My sister called them 'mini cheese pizzas' which I thought was clever. These cheeses made such a huge difference so I suggest this as your filling if you want to try it for your self.

Secondly, I made a bacon breadcrumb mixture that I put on top of the dish before I put in the over to give it a little color, crunch and saltiness. Brilliant idea. I mixed about 1/4 of panko crumbs with 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 slices of bacon that were 3/4 cooked and minced up, parsley and about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Reading that last line makes my arteries clog but it really made the dish.

The last little addition was pretty awesome, too. I served the squashes in over sized soup bowls that have about a 2 inch rim. I dusted each dish with some minced parsley to add color and then I added about 1/4 cup of warm chicken broth to the bottom of each bowl. My guests were using the broth as a dipping sauce which helped to turn a super rich dish into a super rich dish with a savory finish.

Roasted acorn squash stuffed with cheese tortellini

* 2 medium acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
* extra-virgin olive oil
* kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1 garlic clove, crushed
* 1 sprig thyme
* 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 1 lb cheese tortellini (store bought)
* kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
* grated parmesan cheese, for topping
* fresh sage leaf (to garnish)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Split the squash in half (cut lengthwise from top end to bottom end) cutting right through the stem so each half has a piece of stem attached. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Cut a small piece off the rounded bottom to give it a base to sit on. Place the squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortellini mix. Heat a large pot of salted water to cook the tortellini inches In a separate saucepan heat the heavy cream over medium heat with garlic and thyme and reduce until thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the nutmeg and parmesan, then melt over low heat. Cook the tortellini in the boiling water (3-4 minutes for fresh tortellini, or follow directions of brand) and then strain and toss into cream mixture. Use some of the pasta water to thin out sauce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and then divide amongst cooked squash cups.

Turn the oven up to 400°F.

Sprinkle the tops of squash bowls with grated parmesan and a fresh sage leave and then bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.



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