Sicilian Stuffed Squash
2 medium zucchini (½ lb. each)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
⅓ cup TVP flakes
¾ tsp. chopped fresh thyme, or ¼ tsp. dried
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large plum tomato, halved, seeded and chopped (⅓ cup)
1 Tbs. tomato paste
6 saffron threads, soaked in 1 tsp. warm water (optional)
3 Tbs. currants
2 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 ½ Tbs. grated soy Parmesan or Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. dry bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve each zucchini lengthwise. To make squash halves sit securely, cut a thin, narrow 4-inch-long strip from bottom of each. (Strips should be as thin as if you were peeling squash.) Using teaspoon, scoop out flesh to make long, narrow channel down center of each squash half, removing only soft, seeded part. Reserve enough scooped-out flesh to make 1 cup, then chop. Discard remaining flesh or save for another use.
- In medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until transparent, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add reserved squash and cook until slightly softened, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add TVP flakes and cook, stirring, until coated with oil. Stir in thyme and cinnamon. Add tomato and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron mixture if desired, 1/4 cup water, currants, parsley, and 1 tablespoon soy cheese. The filling will be moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place squash halves in square baking dish or ovenproof serving dish just large enough to hold them. Pour 1/2 cup water into dish. Spoon filling into each squash half, mounding slightly. In cup, mix bread crumbs with remaining soy cheese. Sprinkle evenly over each stuffed squash half, then drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
- Bake until neck of squash is easily pierced with knife, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving. Alternatively, cool completely, cover with foil and set aside at room temperature; serve within 12 hours (squash will be less succulent if refrigerated).