South Africans love gem squash while the rest of the world looks on, bemused. This is a beloved recipe I came up with a quarter century ago which always has guests asking f0r the recipe. It’s time to share it with you all.
Use Parmigiano Reggiano if you can. Otherwise, the best Parmesan alternative you can find.
4 large gem squash (1 per person)
4 heaped Tbs grated Parmigiano Reggiano (i.e. 1 Tbs per gem squash)
More Parmigiano Reggiano for grating on top
4 Tbs butter
2 or 3 sprigs rosemary (not dried rosemary needles)
80 ml cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Halve the squashes neatly. Boil or steam until the flesh is soft but do not boil or steam so long that the shells become limp. Cool them off the heat until you can handle them without burning your hands. I find steaming best.
Pour 80 ml cream into a small saucepan and put it on a low heat. Add the rosemary sprigs and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Watch it and be sure it does not boil. Leave aside for further infusion.
Preheat the oven to 200℃.
Now back to the gems: Scoop out and discard the seeds. Choose the four neatest and most solid shells to use for completing the dish, and discard the other four. The principle: the flesh of one whole gem squash will fill a half shell.
Scoop the gem squash flesh into a bowl. Add 4 Tbs grated Parmesan and 4 Tbs butter and stir well. Season modestly with salt and pepper.
Discard the rosemary and stir the infused cream into the mashed squash.
Spoon into the four half shells, neaten it all over with the pack of a spoon, and sprinkle generously with finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Place in the oven until the tops have turned a beautiful golden hue. It’s a lovely accompaniment to a roast although I have on occasion served it as a starter. DM/TGIFood
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