Twice Baked Butternut Squash

*Twice Baked Butternut Squash*
Serves 2

I have long been a fan of twice baked jacket potatoes and I thought hmmm . . . why not try the same thing with a butternut squash? This turned out to be a wonderfully delicious experiment in taste that I hope you will find the time to make and enjoy yourself! The recipe is written as for two, but will very easily multiply to feed more, just use a larger squash and double the stuffing ingredients!

One butternut squash, about 2 pounds in weight
½ cup of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed completely dry
1 TBS butter
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
½ cup toasted walnut halves, chopped coarsely
3 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
Olive oil to drizzle

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds and fibrous bits, and discard. Place the two halves on a baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven until quite tender, approximately ½ hour to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.

With a metal spoon, carefully scrape out the flesh of the squash, leaving about ¼ inch border around one of the halves. (You will only be stuffing one half. Discard the skin from the other half.) Mash the flesh until fairly smooth, along with the 1 TBS of butter.

Squeeze as much water as you can from the spinach leaves and then chop them coarsely. Stir them into the squash along with the seasonings, thyme, walnut pieces and the gruyere cheese. Pile this stuffing into the remaining squash shell.

Increase the oven temperature to 200*C/400*F. Place the stuffed squash half on a shallow baking tray and pop it back into the oven. Bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes until it is completely heated through and starting to brown a bit on the top. Remove from the oven, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and serve. Delicious!!
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