Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ronde de Nice Supper

bounty from the garden

Those lovely large squashes on the right side of the colander are Ronde de Nice. An heirloom summer squash -- okay, basically a round zucchini. They're supposed to be picked when they are the size of golf balls. Clearly that didn't happen.

When they get to be 3-4 inches they are described as being excellent for stuffing...I had to assume that roughly 6 inches across might also be good for stuffing. So I found a few recipes, merged them, and four hours later (including the run to the grocery -- how could I be out of olive oil?) I had made... wait for it... "the best dish you've ever cooked."

Too Big Baked Stuffed Ronde de Nice

First they have to be hollowed out. Slice off a big lid (like you would for carving a pumpkin, but smooth) and scoop out the seeds. Scoop out the flesh until the sides of the squash are only about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside the flesh to be chopped up and add into the stuffing later.

Pour a little kosher salt into each hollow squash, pop the lid on and carefully shake it so the salt coats the insides. Then turn them upside down so the moisture drains out as they sit waiting to be stuffed.

The stuffing begins with olive oil in the bottom of the cast iron skillet and four or five sprigs of fresh rosemary. Just strip off the leaves and add to the pan. Finger shred a couple huge leaves of Genovese basil in as well. Plus a whole clove of garlic, rough chopped (that means barely chopped and wonky).

A package of ground turkey, some dried sage, a little ground black pepper, a sploosh of onion powder... this was the point at which most recipes called for sausage, but I had ground turkey defrosted, so ground turkey and assorted sausagey seasonings is what I used.

After the meat cooks through, most recipes want you to lower the heat and add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Well, I lowered the heat but I happened to have some of my cheater spaghetti sauce still in the fridge... Waste not Want not. Why open a new can of paste? In it went. (That would be tomato paste with some oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and a bunch of basil in it.)

Add the chopped up flesh from scooping out the squashes earlier. I left the bits with seeds out; I thought it would look better, and I wasn't sure if (given the maturity) they would still be tender enough to eat.

When that all began to look cooked down, I turned off the burner. Most meat stuffings are supposed to cool for a while now. Mine didn't. I was hungry and I knew it still had to bake.

More fresh basil leaves, and a whoosh of bread crumbs... the time to take this photo showing the mini-bread-crumb-mountain was pretty much all the cooling this stuffing got. Mix well, add some grated Parmesan, the nice "fresh" Parm, and we're ready to stuff.

The squashes will be sitting in little puddles of squash water. Turn them right side up and wipe out the excess salt. Fill with the meat stuffing. Put the lids back on, and pop them in a baking pan with an inch (or so) of water. I put a couple extra sprigs of rosemary in my baking water to infuse it for added flavor (...and because it was pretty and I had cut too much extra).

They bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes with their lids on. Then move the lids to the side and bake for another 20 minutes until the top is goldeny and the squashes are nice and tender.
... and serve...
They are just as good, better even, the second day after you discover that one stuffed squash is actually three meals. They microwave beautifully to re-heat.


  1. I just got one of these in my CSA box and am browsing around figuring out what to do- this sounds delicious!

  2. Maybe a silly question, but do you eat the skin? Or just scoop out the stuffing and squash?

  3. Hi, not a silly question at all. :) The first day I just slice it up and eat the whole thing -- there are a lot of good vitamins and minerals in the skins. But the second day I find that some of it gets a little too crispy for me (with the re-heating) so I do more scooping out.

    1. I should add that these are summer squashes -- If you use a winter squash you wouldn't eat the rind at all.


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