Locro de zapallo is a staple dish in my home because it is simple, yummy and reminiscent of the kind of home-cooked meals I grew up eating in Peru. This vegetarian squash stew comes together quickly with mostly common ingredients. Squash, potatoes and mozzarella slowly cook with butter and milk to create a creamy, chunky and cheesy puree with colorful peas, corn and fresh cilantro. Serve it with steamed white rice and a fried sunny-side-up egg.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat (see Cook’s Note). Melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Stir in the onion, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent and soft without browning, about 3 minutes. Next, stir in the squash and potatoes, until coated with the onion mixture, about 1 minute. Pour in 1/4 cup water, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over medium-low heat until the squash and potatoes are fork-tender, but still give some slight resistance, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the lid, stir in the milk, corn and peas and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the squash and potatoes are completely tender and can be easily mashed with the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, then add the cheese and cilantro. Give the locro one gentle stir, then let sit to allow the cheese to melt before serving, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until crispy around the edges, the whites are cooked through and the yolk is still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the locro with the eggs and rice.
Make sure to use a standard medium saucepan for the locro. If you use a pan that is wider at the base, such as a saute pan, the potatoes and squash won’t cook evenly in the liquid.