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There is something so charmingly retro about this recipe, which is what drew me to it in the first place. Pressing cooked quinoa into a pie plate and then unmolding it onto a platter so the neat circles of butternut squash are attractively displayed on top seems like such a weird thing to do to quinoa. It’s something that they would’ve done in the 1960’s when American cuisine was all about Spam and pineapple upside down cakes. If my husband had been around when I stumbled across this recipe, he probably would’ve been hesitant to try it when my first reaction was “This looks so weird – I have to make it!”

But I’m not one to let a quirky 1960’s vibe dissuade me from trying out a recipe. So I made it as a side dish for dinner one night, and after we both marveled at this odd way of serving quinoa, we tried it. Holy cow, it’s good! It’s actually really tasty! I know the pie shape has nothing to do with the flavor, but it did cause some doubt. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to worry, I’ve tested it out, and this is a really yummy dish. It’s great as a side dish, but it would also work really well as a light lunch with a little side salad. It’s so healthy, all whole grains and veggies, it’s an easy way to slip some wholesome goodness into your meal.

Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash

From Martha Stewart Living, November 2006

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, havled crosswise, and seeded

18 fresh sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage

1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup quinoa

2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock

1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil, cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with 1 teaspoon oil. Cut five 1/4-inch-thick rings of squash; cut remainder into 1/4-inch dice. Place squash on sheets. Toss with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 12 sage leaves. Bake until tender and just golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Keep oven on.
  2. Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. quinoa and stock; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes.
  3. Stir together quinoa, diced squash, chopped sage, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Coat a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Arrange 6 sage leaves face down in plate; top with squash rings. Press quinoa mixture on top.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. Serve wedges warm or at room temperature.


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My husband does not like vegetables. He eats them only because I make them and because he knows they’re good for him. ┬áSo when I suggested ratatouille for dinner, a dish made up entirely of vegetables, including suspicious ones like eggplant, he was less than enthusiastic about it. It was like I had thrown a wet, vegetable-y blanket over his hopes for dinner.

Well, he shouldn’t have worried, because this dish is awesome. It’s hearty and delicious and flavorful and a decidedly un-vegetable-y way to have vegetables. James loved it. Loved it! I’ve made it several times since it appeared in the October 2010 issue of Everyday Food, and each time James eats it enthusiastically.

Ratatouille is a quintessential French peasant dish, and like all good peasant dishes, it’s comforting, hearty, flavorful, and cheap to make. And it makes a ton. You can serve it several ways: by itself, as a side, over pasta or polenta. You can put it in a ramekin with a raw egg in the middle and bake it until the egg is set (a very yummy way to have it). You can put it on top of toasts like bruschetta.

Ratatouille

From Everyday Food, October 2010

Prep: 20 minutes

Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes: 3 quarts

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 large yellow onions (1 pound total), diced large

1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled

2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large

2 large zucchini (1 pound total), diced large

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves (I use 1 tsp dried oregano)

2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to carefully crush tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. (The tomatoes may be bursting with liquid so be careful not to squirt tomato juice all over your kitchen.) Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and oregano to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar – I always use 3 tablespoons, but adjust it to your taste. Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaf before serving.

Suzi

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