Summer squash is one of those yummy vegetables that is best cooked simply, preferably in season. The problem that some people run into is that they don’t want to eat sautéed squash every night, and when you have squash coming in the garden in the summer, you end up with lots and lots of them.
Squash don’t really preserve well, unless you cook, puree, and freeze them. They lose their lovely fresh texture no matter what else you try to do with them.
We’ve been eating sautéed squash, roasted squash, steamed squash, and baked squash in the past several weeks, several times a week.
In the spirit of “variety is the spice of life” I am attaching this, my summer squash casserole recipe. Cookbooks are notoriously unvaried on the topic of cooking squash (see paragraph 1 above, you don’t really need a recipe to cook them). And squash casserole recipes are often loaded up with milk, cheese, butter, and eggs to the point where you are disguising the squash more than you’re accenting their flavor.
3 cups cooked rice or orzo pasta
2 large summer squash (or about 2 lbs)
Olive oil (this time I used my mushroom/sage flavored olive oil) (3 tablespoons)
Salt, pepper, sweet paprika (1 tablespoon each)
½ cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable broth or chicken stock
2 italian relleno or other sweet peppers (about 1 bell pepper worth)
1 small onion
Breadcrumbs and/or cornflake crumbs
Grate the onion. Grate the raw summer squash (large grating setting).
In a mixing bowl, combine the rice, olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and stir well. Add the chopped pepper, grated onion, grated squash, broth, and milk, and stir well.
Spoon into a buttered casserole dish, 1/3rd of the dish at a time. Put a thin layer of cheddar cheese (I used sliced aged cheddar) across the first two layers. I put about 2 ounces of romano cheese on the top, along with a thin layer of cornflake crumbs. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees for 15 more minutes. Serves 6-8.