Stuffed Acorn Squash With Sausage and Kale
This recipe dresses up the humble acorn squash for a dinner that’s a hearty and comforting celebration of fall flavors. Feel free to tweak the recipe to use what you have on hand: Any leftover rice or cooked grains will work, along with spinach or other sturdy greens in place of the kale. Though this is not a recipe for rushed weeknights, the squash can be assembled completely in advance and finished in the oven just before serving. For best results, use medium squash, and remove the stem for easier cutting.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2medium acorn squash (about 2 pounds each)
- Olive oil, as needed
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ¼cup raw hazelnuts, for serving (optional)
- 1cup chopped shallots (about 4 shallots)
- ¼packed cup chopped fresh sage leaves
- 3garlic cloves, minced
- 1cup lightly packed chopped lacinato or curly kale leaves
- 1pound bulk hot Italian pork sausage
- Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- ½cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- 1cup cooked white or brown rice, or farro
- ⅓cup grated Parmesan
- Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully halve cut each squash in half through the stem, removing the stem if still attached. Scoop out and discard the seeds, and place the squash halves on a sheet pan, cut-side up. (You may want to trim the bottom of the squash halves slightly so they don’t wobble on the pan.) Brush each squash generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a knife, 35 to 40 minutes.
Step 2Meanwhile, if using the hazelnuts, heat a large skillet slicked with olive oil over medium. Add the hazelnuts and toast, tossing often, until the skins begin to split and the nuts are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board to cool. Once cooled, roll the nuts around on the board with the palm of your hand to remove some of the skins. Discard the skins, coarsely chop the nuts, sprinkle lightly with salt, then set aside.
Step 3Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-low. Add the shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the sage and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the kale and cook, tossing, just until it begins to wilt.
Step 4Raise the heat to medium-high and add the sausage, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, crumbling the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until about half the liquid has evaporated. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Step 5Using a small spoon, gently scrape about 3 heaping tablespoons of flesh from the cavity of each squash (you should have about 1 cup altogether) and add it to the sausage, along with the rice and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly until combined, breaking up any chunks of squash.
Step 6Divide the sausage mixture among the squash halves, filling each one to the top. (Depending on the size of the squash cavities, you may need to slightly heap the filling.) Return the sheet pan to the oven to roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is heated through and starting to brown on top.
Step 7Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and parsley, if using, and serve hot.