Lebanese Stuffed Squash

Makes 2 to 4 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound lean ground lamb

   or beef

1/3 cup short-grain rice

1 tomato, peeled and

   chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/4

   teaspoon allspice

2 pounds small or medium-         sized summer squash or

   zucchini

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Juice of 11/2 lemons

2 to 4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon crushed dried

   mint

1.   Make the filling by combining the vegetable oil, meat, rice, tomato, salt and pepper to taste and cinnamon or allspice in a bowl. Use your hands to knead ingredients together.

2.   Wash squash and cut off the stem end. Use an apple corer to make a hole at the sliced end and scoop out the pulp, being careful not to break the skin or break through the other end. Fill each squash ¾ full with the rice and meat filling, as the rice will swell when cooked.

3.   Lay a few thin slices of tomato on the bottom of a large, deep saucepan. Place stuffed squash side by side on top of the tomatoes.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste with 1¼ cups of water and the juice of 1 lemon and pour over the squash. Add more water if necessary to cover the squash. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until squash are soft.

5.   Crush garlic cloves with a little salt. Mix garlic with mint and remaining lemon juice. Sprinkle over squash and continue cooking for a few minutes longer.

- Adapted from Jeanette Dobek and Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

Per serving (based on 4, with lamb): 346 calories, 15 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams sugar, 21 grams fat, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 126 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.