A while back my wife and I decided that if we were going to justify storing our cookbook collection, we needed to make at least one recipe from each book every week.It sounded simple enough, and I happily joined her in browsing through Taste of Home magazine’s Prize winning Recipes (spring 2006), the first of the books on our target list, picking three recipes as we went. Of course, it all went kind of sideways from there.
The recipe in question was for Curried Beef-Stuffed Squash, which looked wonderful at first glance. Unfortunately, my penchant for winging it in the kitchen very quickly led way to a completely new recipe based on the flavors I was craving at the moment. It seems no matter how much I want to follow a recipe, the by the seat of his pants cook in me always takes over, and I never know exactly what the end result will be.
In this case, it was fabulous!
Yield: 6 servings
Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe, a Sage Sensation
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours10 minutes
3 medium acorn squash (about 1 lb. each) halved and seeded
1 lb sage sausage. (For those who don’t eat pork, I’ve seen turkey sausage in this flavor as well.)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground fennel
1 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce (or 8 oz. homemade sauce, if you have it.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp. dried parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place squash cut side down in a greased baking pan. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350° F oven for 35-45 minutes, or until almost tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
Cook sausage onion and garlic in a large, heavy bottomed skillet (frying pan or sauce pan) until sausage is no longer pink and onion is tender. Remove from heat, drain excess fat and return to pan. (We’re doe with the cook top kids.)
Add remaining ingredients to sausage and stir to combine. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. (I recommend sea salt for this one, but kosher salt will do nicely.) Turn squash cut side up in baking pan and spoon equal amounts of sausage mixture into each half. (No need to cut a flat spot. The squash will be more than soft enough to form a level base when flipped, though you may need to press down just a bit.)
Add 1/4? hot water to baking pan and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350° F for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Remove foil and cook an additional 10 minutes, just to add a bit of texture to the filling.
Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan or Asiago cheese if desired. (I didn’t use the cheese here, but it would have been great.)
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
The only thing I can think of that might have made this better would be a bit of seasoned breadcrumbs, but even then, the star here is really the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth squash. The filling plays a very nice supporting role.