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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Zesty Orzo and Cheese


My kitchen was overrun with acorn squash this week. This recipe was perfect as I was able to stretch the filling of orzo to fit into two large squash halves plus four small ones.

There are several options on how to cook the acorn squash – microwaving, steaming, or baking with olive oil. The method described below worked well for me as the acorn squash has time to cook while I’m working on the orzo and sauce. And, the oven is already pre-heated when it’s time to bake the acorn squash when it’s stuffed with the filling.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Zesty Orzo and Cheese
by Megabeth

2 large acorn squash, halved, seeded
3/4 cup water
1 cup orzo
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce
panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 400° F. Prick acorn squash several times with knife. Place in microwave for two minutes on high. Remove from microwave and let sit one minute. Cut acorn squash in half (stem to stem).

To keep acorn squash from rolling around in pan once you flip them over, cut a thin slice from rounded side of each squash half. Place squash, open side down in glass pyrex baking pan. Add water to pan and cover with foil.

Bake for about 35 minutes – or until squash is tender. Once tender, drain water in pan and flip acorn squash open side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, place orzo on small baking sheet and place in oven for a few minutes to toast.

Put a few cups of salted water in pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add toasted orzo. Cook until almost tender (about 5 minutes.)  Drain the orzo.

Add milk and broth into pot and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add orzo. Continue boiling until the liquid thickens and orzo becomes tender. Stir frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain. Remove pot from heat.

Stir in cheddar and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Once melted add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir to combine ensuring that all the cheese is melted.

Divide mixture among squash halves. (If you’d like, to make sure that the orzo integrates better with the orzo, score the acorn squash a little bit before adding the mixture.)

Sprinkle the filled acorn squash with the rest of the Parmesean and panko crumbs.

Put into oven and bake until the tops brown – about 20 minutes.