Acorn Squash stuffed with Chard & Rice

I decided to do a rice and chard version with gruyere, all items I had on hand, but ended up switching the gruyere to Parmesan. I made the change because my rice and chard mixture, despite the green garlic and leeks, was a little bland. I greatly improved and enhanced the flavors by adding a small amount of three cheese tomato pasta sauce (from Trader Joe’s). With the red sauce, Parmesan was the natural partner.

I baked/steamed the acorn squash. Mine were the perfect texture, but hubby’s was tough and fibrous. He loved the filling though. I would have topped these with crushed hazelnuts rather than the breadcrumbs, but hubby is weird about nut toppings, so I used breadcrumbs instead.

Here’s the recipe:

2 acorn squash, cut in half from top to bottom, seeds and stringy bits removed
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
1 green garlic, chopped or 1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch chard leaves, stems removed, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/3 cup cheesy tomato pasta sauce
grated Parmesan
fresh breadcrumbs
lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375. Fill a shallow dish, large enough to hold your halved acorn squash, with 1/4 inch water. Place the cleaned acorn squash cut side down in the dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Remove from dish and dot inside with butter. Remove water from shallow dish and place the acorn squash cut side up and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet and gently cook the leek and garlic until soft (5-8 minutes). Add the chard leaves and cook until the chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice and the tomato sauce and mix until well combined.

Fill the acorn squash with the rice mixture. Top with the Parmesan, breadcrumbs and a drop or two of lemon juice. Place under the broiler until the topping is golden brown (3-4 minutes).

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