Leave it to Mimi
Whenever Mimi and I get together she’s prepared to show me all of her newest recipe discoveries. Invariably, as I leave her place I find myself making an unplanned stop to the grocery store to pick up a few items for a meal I hadn’t even heard of a couple of hours earlier. That’s exactly what happened yesterday, and I’m pretty sure that both of our families enjoyed this dish last night.
This recipe sounds perfectly wonderful without any changes, so what you’ll find below is the original that appeared in this month’s (December, 2012) issue of Cooking Light magazine. However, I modified it somewhat due to ingredients I had on hand, and it was spectacularly good.
My changes: we still had some leftover turkey and mushroom risotto so I combined it with cooked wild rice to substitute for the brown rice. Also, the small, 10-ounce acorn squash weren’t available at my grocery store so I substituted larger, 1.5 pound acorn squash. Therefore I only needed half the number of squash to feed the same number of people. And finally, a package of Jimmy Dean (regular) sausage was in my refrigerator, so I used some of that instead of the sweet Italian sausage which is a part of the original. This last change probably makes a significant taste difference, but seeing as I like both kinds, I’m sure I would love it as written, also.
If it’s cold where you live, or even if it’s not, this is a hearty, delicious dish. The recipe says it makes 4 servings, but they would need to be 4 very hungry people.
Sausage and rice stuffed acorn squash, from Cooking Light magazine.
- 4 small acorn or sweet dumpling squashes (about 10 ounces each)
- 2 (4-ounce) links sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese (mozzarella’s good, too)
Preheat oven to 425°.
Place whole squashes in a roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until just tender. Let stand for 15 minutes. Halve squashes. Scoop out seeds; discard.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan; drain on paper towels. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage, rice, and next 5 ingredients (through Parmesan). Divide rice mixture evenly among squash halves. Sprinkle evenly with Swiss cheese.
Arrange squash halves on a baking sheet; broil 4 minutes or until golden and cheese is melted.