This comes from Lidey Heuck in NYTimes Cooking and popped up on a search to use up some things we already had in the cupboard. It seems more complicated than it is but the results are very satisfying. In truth, almost anything stuffed into a roasted acorn squash is pretty good – my mother always just did butter and brown sugar and that went over very well. We ventured a little off from the NYTC recipe in order to use what we had, so there’s some flexibility in this – e.g. use kale instead of spinach, top with toasted nuts, use Farro instead of rice, adjust the sausage you use (we used Beyond plant based).

For this you’ll need: x1 large(ish) acorn squash (cut in half and seeds/pulp removed with a spoon), 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 onion (chopped), 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves (chopped), 2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped), 1 cup spinach leaves (roughly chopped, stems broken off), x2 large sausage links (we used Beyond’s Hot Italian; cut into 1/2″ pieces), 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/2 cup parmesan (grated), olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pre-heat your oven to 400. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds/pulp, and cut off just a small part of the rounded under-edge of the squash so it doesn’t roll when you place it on a lightly greased roasting tray. Rub a little oil over the inside bowl and edges of the squash and add a good grinding of salt and pepper all over the tops of the two halves. Place the squash on the tray into the pre-heated oven and cook until tender (about 30-40 mins).

Meanwhile start your rice – we used 1/2 cup of paella rice in about 2 cups of water, brought it to a boil and let it simmer, partially covered, for about 15 mins; then we drained and rinsed the rice with boiling water to remove the starch. Set aside to use later.

Put about 2 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened and translucent – about 5-6 mins. Add the sage and garlic and stir everything together until it is fragrant – about 1 min – then add the spinach to the onion/garlic/sage and stir well until the spinach has wilted – about 1-2 minutes. Add the sausage, nutmeg and some more salt and pepper (and a touch more oil if you need it) and cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the sausage, until the sausage is browning, about 5-6 mins.

Turn up the heat a little, add the wine and stir well until the wine has mostly boiled away – about 3 mins.

Use a Tablespoon to scoop out about 3 Tbsp from each of your roasted acorn squash halves from the edges of the bowl (just to widen the opening a little). Place these 6 Tbsp of roasted squash along with the rice and the grated parmesan into the sausage mixture over medium heat. Stir well to break up the squash so that it creates a smooth(ish) sauce and cook for another 5 mins or so.

Divide the rice/sausage mixture into two halves and place each into the bowl and to the side of your roasted squash. At this point you can return the now stuffed squash on the roasting tray back into the oven for another 10-12 mins of roasting to brown the top of the stuffing, or you can serve it as is. Your call.

Serve with grated parmesan on top.

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