Monday, February 10, 2014

Stuffed Acorn Squash

A stuffed squash makes for a beautiful, and economical, dish. As with bread bowls and ice cream cones, it's just plain fun to nibble at the vessel AND its contents. I usually make my stuffed squashes an omnivore's delight, but feel free to saute shiitakes instead of sausage, should you desire a vegetarian main. Bonus is that depending on the size of your squash, you'll have a little extra stuffing to pop into tomorrow's omelet or over some bitter greens. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Makes 2 servings 

*1 acorn squash
*1 tablespoon EVOO
*2 teaspoons maple syrup
*1 cup cooked brown rice
*2 tablespoons toasted pepitas

*2 links Italian hot sausage, casings removed
*1 small shallot, sliced thinly
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*2 leaves kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
*1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
*Pinch of crumbled dried sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 400. Whisk together the oil and syrup with pinches of salt and pepper. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the guts. Cut a sliver of the rounded bottoms off too, so that they'll stay in place on the baking sheet. Place the halves facing up on a rimmed baking sheet, and brush the syrup-oil mixture all over the squash halves and into the hollows (pro-tip: I drizzle a little of the maple-y oil over the pepitas and toss before toasting them briefly in the oven). Bake the squash for 45-60 minutes, or until perfectly tender.

Meanwhile, cook the rice, if not already on hand. Near the end of the baking time, saute the sausage in a wide skillet, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Once it has browned and cooked, remove from the skillet and throw the shallots in for a couple minutes with a little extra oil if needed before adding the garlic. Then, add the kale and continue to saute for a few minutes more until the kale is wilted. Turn off the heat and add the pepitas, sausage, sage, thyme and rice. Mix well and season to taste with S&P. Remove squash from oven. Fill both halves with the stuffing and serve.

Dapper Owl Plate, Rachel Kozlowski for West Elm

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