Acorn Squash, Spinach, and Ricotta Cheese Torte

It’s fall and winter squash are plentiful. Although there are many varieties, my favorite winter squash are the butternut and acorn. The acorn squash is also known as Des Moines or pepper squash. This recipe can be made with either butternut or acorn squash. I chose to use acorn as I was also making my Roasted Butternut Squash Chipotle Soup.

This torte makes a great side dish or can take center stage as an entrée for a meatless meal.

Here’s what I did:

Acorn Squash, Spinach, and Ricotta Cheese Torte

Ingredients

2 small acorn squash (approximately 1-1/2 pounds), seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 eggs
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon water
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 packages (16 ounce bags) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place squash slices on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly spritz with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine two eggs, cheeses and sage. Prepare an egg wash in a separate small bowl by whisking water and remaining egg and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté onion in oil until tender. Stir in the spinach, garlic and nutmeg. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes until heated through and set aside.

Next, unfold one pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly flowered rolling pin, roll out pastry sheet into a 14-in. square. Press into bottom and up sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan.  Excess pastry will drape over edges. Brush with reserved egg mixture.

Next, assemble the torte by layering the bottom pastry shell with half of the squash, half the cheese mixture, and half the spinach. Repeat layers. Roll out the remaining pastry into a 10-in. square and place over filling. Then fold the bottom pastry over the top and press edges to seal. Brush pastry with egg mixture.

Place pan on baking sheet. Bake at 400° 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool. After cooling for 10 to 15 minutes, you may remove the springform ring. Allow to cool for 15 to 30 additional minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Mushroom and Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Here is a delicious way to prepare acorn squash. Another name for acorn squash is Des Moines squash. Maybe I should call them by that name since I live in Iowa. These savory squash make a great meatless meal or consider adding them to your Thanksgiving feast.

Note: This recipe calls for cremini mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are usually marketed as Baby Bella mushrooms. White button mushrooms, cremini (Baby Bella) and portabella mushrooms are all the same mushroom. Age is the only thing that differentiates them. White button mushrooms are the youngest and portabella are the oldest. Cremini fall in between the two.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

2 Acorn (Des Moines) squash
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons walnut or olive oil, divided
½ pound cremini mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 450° F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle oil on each cut side of squash and season with salt and pepper. Place squash with cut side down in baking dish. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and roast until tender; 35 to 40 minutes.

While squash is roasting, heat remaining two tablespoons of oil over medium-high large, deep skillet. Add mushrooms, onion, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms begin to brown; about 5 to 7 minutes. Then add rice and broth and bring to a boil. When broth begins to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed; about 20 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, remove foil, turn squash cut side up and allow to cool slightly. After removing squash from oven, turn oven up to broil. Scoop out about two tablespoons of flesh from each squash half and stir into rice. Divide rice mixture among squash halves and sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil until melted cheese is melted and begins to brown.