Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Squash and Wild Rice Platter

This is a winter squash-lover’s delight. It is a simple dish but the flavor is wonderfully complex because of the variety of ingredients.

½ c. uncooked wild/exotic rice (a blend of black japonica, red, and wild rice is my favorite)
1 c. water
1 good-size butternut or kabocha squash (or 2 acorn squash)
8 oz. sundried tomatoes marinated in oil (julienne cut)
6 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350˚.

Bring the water to a boil, add the rice, cover tightly, and cook on a very low temperature until all the water is absorbed (about 50 minutes). Fluff with a fork and allow to sit for 5 minutes covered.

While the rice is cooking, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Put the halves upside down on a cookie sheet with a little water in it (up to about ¼ of an inch). Bake at 350˚ for about 40 minutes or until the squash is clearly soft when pierced with a fork. Check frequently after 30 minutes in the oven so as not to overcook. Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the squash meat and mash it until smooth.

Grate the cheese.

When the rice is cooked and the squash is baked and mashed, then you are ready to assemble the ingredients in layers. In a pie plate or on a platter, spread the squash as the bottom layer. Spread the cooked rice across the squash as the next layer. The third layer is the sundried tomatoes. Spread the tomatoes evenly and drizzle the oil marinade from the jar evenly. Finally, spread the grated cheese across the top.

Place the dish in the oven at 350˚ for 10 minutes to melt the cheese and warm the sundried tomatoes or, alternatively, microwave the entire dish for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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