I’ve said it before: I love those winter squashes. Baking them and serving with some melted butter (or a drizzle of oil) is simple, yet delicious. But wait, what’s this? Squashes include a hollowed out space; a cup just waiting to be filled. What should we put in this cup? I have so many ideas!
I’ll walk you through a recent favorite recipe, and then list some other ideas at the end.
Acorn squash, halved, seeds removed, baked
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Sausages (Vermont Salumi is my favorite), casing removed
1 Cup bread crumbs (cubed left over bread is great for this)
A sprinkle of fresh sage (or dried)
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Cup shredded cheese (cheddar is great)
First, the baking: Cut your squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and bake the halves, covered, at 375* for 45-60 minutes, until tender when pricked with a fork. (You can certainly bake at higher temperatures in less time, but the lower baking temperature and slower roasting brings out the vegetable’s supreme sweetness.) Now you have a squash ready to eat. You can stop here with just a little butter or oil, but why would you? There are so many delicious things to add to those squash-y cups. Keep that oven warm, because the squash cups are going back in there after we stuff them.
While your squash is cooking, sautee your onions, garlic and sage in butter, and add the sausage. Use a fork to break up the sausage into a crumble-y texture. Once the sausage is fully cooked, add breadcrumbs and stir them a few times to coat them with the butter and juices.
Let your baked squash cool a little, and then scoop out the flesh into a bowl, leaving two intact outer shells. Leave behind a thin layer of flesh so that the squash cups hold their shape, being sure not to poke holes in the outer skin. These cups are going to be re-stuffed and baked. But first, we make magic happen with the squash flesh.
Once you have your squash flesh in the bowl, mix in your sausage/bread crumb sautee, and add half of the cheese. Stir the mixture with a fork a few times to incorporate everything. Then, scoop half of the mixture back into each squash cup, and put the rest of the cheese on top. Put the squash cups back in the oven at 375* for 15-30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the stuffing is warmed throughout.
ALTERNATE STUFFING IDEAS
The options for stuffing a squash are endless, really. But here are some other ideas I like. Try mixing your cooked squash flesh with any of these combos:
– Butter or oil, maple syrup (or brown sugar), chopped toasted pecans and fresh sage
– Sauteed onions, garlic and breadcrumbs with cheese and spinach
– Sauteed onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes and bread crumbs with goat cheese, spinach, and pine nuts