EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 26, 2014

Stuffed butternut goes gluten-free

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — Easily made gluten-free, this Stuffed Butternut Squash dish has awesome flavors and looks as good as it tastes.

If you are gluten-intolerant, then it is necessary to follow a gluten-free diet. A member of my family is extremely gluten-sensitive and under his doctor’s supervision has followed a strict gluten-free diet for several years now; I have learned a lot from Mike and my sister, and I am always looking out for good recipes for them.

Many of us want to have less wheat in our diet, but do not have a gluten-intolerant disease, more of perhaps a wheat sensitivity or wanting to eat healthier. If that is you, listed below are some simple substitutions that we all can make:

Bread: Use corn tortillas. Spread some butter and jam on a tortilla instead of bread for breakfast. Tortillas also make good sandwich wraps.

Croutons: Use nuts. Walnuts, cashews, and pecans will give you great crunch.

Pasta: Use rice noodles and, of course, spaghetti squash.

Pancakes: Use cornmeal. Mix up a batch of cornmeal pancakes and top them with fruit or pure maple syrup.

Rice: Use quinoa (packed with protein) or millet.

Eating nutritious foods is important on any diet, and this stuffed squash is loaded with so many good things, that you will find yourself eating it often.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Serves 8

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 medium butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 pound Jones brand frozen spicy rolled gluten-free sausage, thawed

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cups leeks, chopped

1 large apple, peeled, cored, diced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup pecans, chopped

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over the cut side of the squash and season with salt and pepper; place on baking sheet. Tightly cover with another piece of foil and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool to touch scoop out flesh, leaving a half-inch thick border to create the shells. Dice squash and place in a medium bowl.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and butter. Add sausage and garlic to melted butter and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add leeks and apples and continue to cook for another few minutes until sausage is cooked through and apples are tender. Remove from heat and add to bowl with squash along with cranberries and pecans; mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, remaining oil, thyme ad salt and pepper to taste. Add to squash mixture and toss to coat well.

Divide mixture among the four squash shells and top each with some parsley and mozzarella cheese. Place back on baking sheet and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes till hot and cheese has melted.

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For your recipe collection, this marinade is easily made gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce. This is a great-tasting sauce to marinate fish fillets such as halibut, cod, or mahi-mahi.

Gluten-free Lemon-Garlic Marinade

1/4 cup each of olive oil, lemon juice, and dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons gluten-free and less sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon pepper

Salt to taste

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Mix all together. Pour over desired fillets, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Cook or grill as desired.

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Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at patakitchen@yahoo.com, or send a self-stamped, self-addressed envelope when writing care of The Eagle-Tribune, 100 Turnpike St., North Andover, MA 01845.