You’ve likely seen butternut squash baked and stuffed with all kinds of different goodies, from sausage to Tex-Mex to rice! Well it’s time for an Italian version to make its way to your table! This Italian Orzo-Stuffed Butternut Squash includes tender orzo—a small, rice-shaped pasta—tossed with onion, garlic, tomato, and seasonings for a flavorful way to serve a favorite fall squash. Your family will love this healthy, vegetarian dinner that is light but also hearty! If you’ve been looking for the perfect stuffed squash recipe that is flavorful and filling, this is it.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add about ¼ inch of water to a baking dish and set aside.
Slice the top off the butternut squash, then slice the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and stringy fiber. Hollow out a bit of the squash with a spoon.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the cut sides and the hollow of the squash. Season with salt and pepper.
Place both halves into the baking pan, cut side up, and cook for about 50 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
As the squash cooks, add the orzo to 5 cups of boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes at a high simmer, or until the orzo is tender. Drain and set aside.
Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato and the tomato paste. Stir to combine.
Add the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and dried parsley. Stir to combine.
Cook the mixture for several minutes. The tomatoes will burst are release some of their liquid.
Add the drained orzo to the skillet with the tomato mixture. Toss to combine.
Remove the butternut squash from the oven. Carefully remove from the baking pan and add each half to a plate. Divide the orzo mixture evenly and use a spoon to transfer it to the hollowed out portion of the squash, piling it high.
Serve warm, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh torn parsley.
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