Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stuffed Gem Squash/Stuffed Acorn Squash

Jeanne from Cooksister is back hosting Waiter, There's something in my... and she wants us to get stuffed...umm..no she wants us to get stuffing...vegetables and fruits that is!

After some thought I settled upon something that caught my eye the first time I saw it - Gem Squash or more correctly Acorn Squash.

gem squash©

They are Acorn Squash but the Grower calls them Gem Squash so that is the name they are being sold under. I must admit that the name Acorn does give you a better idea of their overall shape. They fit easily in the hand with a vibrant orange and green skin and deep ridge marks. My first glimpse of them had me stopping in mid step.

gem squash©

After tossing around various ideas on how to stuff these squash I decided on something quite simple. I sliced them in half along their length and removed the seeds and fibrous parts. The flesh is quite light coloured and it is quite a mild tasting squash.

I par-bake the halves and then fill them in a mix of spinach and béchamel sauce that's been flavoured with nutmeg and a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano. They then go back in the oven to finish cooking.

stuffed gem squash©

Stuffed Gem Squash/Stuffed Acorn Squash

Gem squash, sliced in half lengthways, seeds removed
fresh spinach
thick Béchamel sauce
freshly ground nutmeg
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, extra

Drizzle a little olive oil over the prepared squash - rub the oil in well to coat the skin and insides. Sprinkle over with a little salt.

Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven until they have softened and are beginning to colour.

While the squash is cooking, boil the spinach until soft and strain immediately. Allow to cool and then press the spinach to remove any excess water. They need to be as dry as possible. Shred the spinach roughly and set to one side.

The béchamel sauce needs to be thick to hold the spinach and not spill out of the squash. When you add the spinach, season with nutmeg - I find that nutmeg just loves spinach and squash. You may also like to enrich the mixture by adding some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spoon this into the par-cooked squash and return to the oven to finish cooking and set the filling.

stuffed squash©


  1. Great-looking dish - easy and tasty. I've planted lots of different squashes outside, I'm bound to have enough for stuffing:)

  2. AnonymousMay 29, 2007

    I love squash and love spinach. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

  3. Beautiful! I have a hard time finding interesting squash varieties here, but if I ever find acorn squash... Spinach & béchamel is a wonderful combo, too.

  4. Just yummy. I'm not sure why, but acorn is one type of squash I haven't ever tried.

  5. A handful of ingredients and such an amazing result, Haalo!
    It look so delicious!

  6. I will toss all my gratin dishes for you gorgeous squash. So simple yet so genius.

  7. Another great recipe - you've got all my favorites in there!

  8. Haalo, I did my Australian gastronomy presentation today, and I really hope I've done you proud.

    I love what you've done with this, and I see it as being very typical (in a very good way) of the Australian approach to cooking. You've taken something relatively simple (a squash), and photographed it at its best. You've used a simple preparation method, just slicing it in half still in the skin. Yet there's always such elegance in your cooking Haalo, something I very much envy. I don't know what you do or how you do it, but you make the difficult look effortless, if that makes any sense.

    The second photo of the squash is outstanding, Haalo.

  9. That looks delicious - great photo! I haven't seen gem squash around, but perhaps I can use pumpkin instead.

  10. AnonymousMay 30, 2007

    ilike the sound of gem squash too. it reminds me of all the diff colors you captures in that beautiful photo!

    looks delicious stuffed too :)

  11. Thanks Pille - hope you have a bumper crop!

    Thanks Christine!

    Thanks Deinin - I think this should work with say a small butternut pumpkin but you can easily just eat the filling by itself, I know I can!

    Thanks Kalyn - it's the first time I've had it and found it quite a mild tasting squash.

    Thanks Patricia - you can't go wrong with béchamel ;)

    Thanks Rose - unlike squash gratin dishes are reusable!

    Thanks Sara!

    Thank you so much Trig for those most generous comments - I'm sure you've done outstandingly well in your presentation - you have so much passion and you seek out knowledge, that it will translate into success.

    Thanks Nora - at the moment I'm only seeing them at the organic grocers but a small normal pumpkin should work as well.

    Thanks Aria!

  12. Oh WOW. This is my kind of dish Haalo! I adore pretty much every member of the squash family and the acorn squash is no exception. I love your creamy spinach stuffing too (being a long-time fan of butternut stuffed with spinach and feta!). The photos are absolutely beautiful too.

    Shame on the grower for confusing the public though! Acorn squash looks nothing like gem squash :-)

  13. Thanks Jeanne - have to agree with you on the grower - I don't really understand their reasoning at all.

  14. This looks killer good!! I adore both squash and creamed spinach. I'll have to remember to try this when acorn squashes appear in September.

    (That definitely looks like an acorn squash to me too, although I've never seen an acorn with so much gold on the outside before.)


  15. Thanks Elizabeth - from all the pictures I've seen this is definitely acorn squash, as for the gold some are just more coloured than others.

  16. This is definitely something I'd like to make. Though I wouldn't probably use acorn squash. Oh and the pictures!:)

  17. Thanks Evelin - you could probably use the filling in many different vegetables.

  18. Hi Haalo,
    Thanks for a great idea for my Ladies Book Club Dinner being held Wednesday 10 Dec 2008. Shall be stuffing gems for 28 people. However, I being from South Africa, have never seen either your "acorn" or "gem" squash as picture. Our gem squash is always green, round,(no ridges) yellow pulp with a buttery flavour. Do you have a different name? However, it will suit your recipe to the tee.
    Thanks - Lorraine

  19. Hi Lorraine - it seems that what you call squash are actually zucchini, probably a lot like this one. This squash is more like a pumpkin. I really don't know why "squash," depending on the country can mean either something like a zucchini or something like a pumpkin.


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