Can I confess something here?
Whenever I think of warm and hearty dishes for the winter season my mind automatically drifts to squashes… I know, weird right? I don’t know why, but I have a bit of an affinity for squashes… it doesn’t matter if they are Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Pumpkins, etc… I am weak for them all!
Think about it, they are so versatile and add a sweet and mellow flavor that can truly enhance whatever dish you’re serving. They can easily be the star of the show or they can play a supporting role.
You can roast them, sautee them until they are caramelized, bake/broil them with brown sugar, stuff them with various fillings, mash them, puree them into soups, bake them into pies, use them in curries, stir-frys, and salads!
See? They are totally underestimated and deserve more respect than we give them!
SQUASHES ARE GODS GIFT TO US MERE MORTALS.
Also, no I am not being dramatic.
EAT THE GOD DAMN SQUASH!
2-3 Large Acorn Squash; Split lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane
1 Cup Uncooked Wild Rice; cooked according to packages instructions
1 Lb Ground Sweet Italian Sausage
1 Small Onion; finely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves; chopped (Also you can measure that with your heart, who am I to judge)
2 Celery Stalks; finely chopped
2 Green Apples; cored and diced
1/2 Tsp Fresh Sage; finely chopped
1/2 Tsp Fresh Rosemary; finely chopped
1/3 Cup Plain Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese; finely shredded
Kosher Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper
Preheat your oven to 400F.
Drizzle each squash half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.
Roast at 400F for 40-50 minutes or until fork tender.
In a large skillet over medium heat cook your ground sausage breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp Olive Oil. Once the oil is hot add the onion, celery, a pinch of salt, sage, and rosemary. Cook until the onions are softened about 3-5 minutes.
Add Garlic to the pan with the onions and cook another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
Add apples to the pan with the onions and cook until softened, about another 2-3 minutes.
Add bread crumbs, cooked wild rice, and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and mix to combine. Remove from heat. By now your squash should be about finished roasting so once those are done you can spoon the sausage filling into each cavity.
Return filled squash to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes and dust with the reserved 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
Note: you may have leftover filling depending on how big your squash is… there is no shame in eating it in a dark kitchen with a spoon after everyone has gone to bed. Ahhhem that totally happened.