Sausage stuffed acorn squash with shiitakes and apples
My husband and I were recently at an event supporting our local farmers market, scouting out dessert options, when we stumbled upon an ice cream cart. A vegan ice cream cart.
So listen, if you follow me on Instagram or have known me longer than 10 minutes, you know that I prefer savory foods to sweet, pretty much always. But after hours of snacking on wine, cheese, and suckling pig (yep!), we were both craving dessert.
Let me preface this by saying of course I know people with dietary restrictions. Eating out, something I find to be incredibly enjoyable, is absolutely more of a chore for them. Nut-free, soy-free, lactose-free — I honestly can’t even imagine. On the other hand, there’s the ever growing gluten-free population, which has shifted from a mostly precautionary health concern into something trendy. Those people would not like coming to one of my dinner parties…
But serious question: are you really going to serve vegan ice cream to a crowd full of snobby food-lovers?
I love the idea of Meatless Monday (if you’ve never heard of it, yes it’s a thing). I am 100% in support of lessening my carbon footprint and eating fewer meals with animal proteins. But is the charity event for a farmers market — where people are lining up 50 deep to get their hands on a piece of crispy pig skin — really the best place to push that agenda?
During multiple trips to the market I have personally met farmer’s selling the most incredible local cheeses. Creamy goat cheese, pungent blue, and ricotta that is to die for. I would have much preferred they featured ice cream made from the milk of animals other than cows, versus no milk.
And now I look like a total jerk for bashing vegans AND posting a meat-heavy recipe. Let those true colors shine, my friends, am I right?
This recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the incredible fall produce popping up at the market. Zucchini and summer squash are gone, but acorn and butternut squash are in abundance. And if you’ve never mixed squash with sausage (my personal favorite is chorizo!) you are missing.
Lest you think I am heartless, this meal is completely gluten free!
Best version of fall ever.
And may I recommend ice cream for dessert?Print
- 3 medium acorn squash ((or other winter squash), halved and seeded)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb bulk Italian sausage
- 1 large onion, (finely chopped)
- 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, (stemmed and finely chopped)
- 1 apple, (peeled, cored, and finely chopped)
- Parmesan (for topping)
- Chopped fresh parsley, (for serving)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment. Brush the cut sides of the squash lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Arrange the squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Set the squash aside and leave the oven on.
- While the squash is roasting, make the filling. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat it with a thin layer. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned in spots and halfway cooked, about five minutes.
- Stir in onion and shiitake mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is fully cooked and the veggies have softened. Stir in the apples and cook for five minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn the squash halves over so the cut sides are up. Spoon the filling into squash halves and sprinkle with cheese, if using. Return the squash to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes, until the tops are browned. Let cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with additional parmesan and parsley.
Squash can be filled and assembled ahead of time, then refrigerated until needed. Bake as directed for final 15-20 minutes. Perfect for a dinner party!
*Recipe adapted from A Calculated Whisk.