Stuffed Acorn Squash


I saved an old Rachel Ray recipe for stuffed acorn squash that I made years ago. It was pretty bland, but I held onto it thinking I would doctor it up some day. Her recipe called for couscous, ground beef, onion, walnuts and cranberries. I improvised and came up with my own spicy-sweet stuffing and David and I both loved it. You can pretty much just use whatever you have on hand in terms of rice, barley or couscous. I think leftover rice pilaf or wild rice would be great, although we just used plain brown rice. A sprinkle of Parmesan over the top of everything wouldn't hurt, either. Unfortunately, we were out of it when I threw this dinner together.

3-4 acorn squash
butter
about 1-2 cups cooked rice, couscous or other grain
large onion, diced
hot Italian sausage (we used turkey - use as little or as much as you have/want)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

Halve each squash and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place flesh side up in a baking dish and fill with water. Place a pat of butter in each squash half (about 1/2 tablespoon in each) and season well with salt and pepper. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until squash flesh is fork-tender.

Meanwhile, saute onion in olive oil until tender, then add sausage and cook until done. Do not drain. Add rice, walnuts and cranberries and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to your taste, I added a little crushed red pepper!

Remove squash from baking dish and pour water from dish. Pour excess liquid from center of each squash and fill with filling. Place back into oven for 10-15 minutes.