Stuffed Acorn Squash

stuffed acorn squash

One of my favorite things about fall, especially living in the city, is walking by the corner deli storefronts that have outdoor displays of various pumpkins, gourds, and squash – which luckily happens on almost every block. Seeing these fall vegetables always inspires my cooking.
And while I have tampered with spaghetti squash a number of times, I hadn’t yet touched acorn squash (except for the usual fall decor displays). These green and orange-colored squash not only yeild a tasty side dish in the form of perfect scalloped shapes, when sliced and baked – they make a great entree when stuffed with seasonal combinations like apples, sage, and sausage. These stuffed acorn squash look and taste lovely – making them a great autumn dinner party entree choice – but they’re also simple enough to whip together for a weeknight meal.

Stuffed Acorn Squash 1
Stuffed Acorn Squash 2
Stuffed Acorn Squash 3

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 6
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3 small-medium acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Gala apple, peeled and diced small
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, or 1 1/2 cup, diced small
2 Tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 Tablespoons parmasean cheese grated
1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut acorn squash in half, seed the middle out with a spoon. Score the cavity of the squash with a pairing knife. Brush the inner and rims of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Bake, face down on a baking sheet, for 30 minutes or until tender. Once tender, flip over and let cool.
While the squash is in the oven, start on the filling. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large saute pan. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt, and let sweat until transluscent. Add minced garlic and cook a minute. Add mushrooms and apples, and cook for about 5 minutes until apples are soft. Add fresh sage. Season with salt and peper to taste. Add mixture to a large bowl. 
Slit the sausage with a knife to remove from casing. Add to a saute pan heated with a drizzle of olive oil. Break apart the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon while cooking. Once browned and cooked, add the sausage to the vegetable mixture. Then, add mascarpone, parmasean, and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs and mix to combine.
Spoon filling into acorn squash cavities (don’t be afraid to fill ’em up! Pat down the mixture with the back of a spoon to get more in there). 
Melt 2 tablespoons butter, then add the remaining 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add these breadcrumbs over the tops of the stuffed acorn squash. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and crunchy.

**If you want to make this dish gluten-free, just omit the Panko breadcrumbs from the filling, and garnish with fresh chopped sage instead of adding the Panko to the top.

Stuffed Acorn Squash 4
Stuffed Acorn Squash 5


Bon Appetit!
Xo, Dominika.

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