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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Squash stuffed with squash!

I really wanted to try to come up with a different stuffing recipe this time.  I went on line and must have read 100 recipes, but they were all basically the same.  Rice, nuts, onions, cheese, meat, veggies,  beans, etc...but nothing interesting and different.  So I put my thinking cap on and thought about what would make it different.  Pasta?  maybe.  I kept going back to the idea of using croutons, the way I did when I made stuffed peppers.  Then it came to me.  I had a whole pan of the bread pudding that I made on Sunday and knew that it would be perfect in my stuffing, and what a great way to use it up!  If you wanted to, you could cube some nice bread and lightly moisten it with an egg/milk mixture, and season with salt and pepper.  Whether you use croutons or the bread, it will come out perfectly!

And the ingredients are:

Acorn Squash - bake first, remove squash
Butternut Squash - diced and roasted
Sweet Italian Sausage - remove casings and cook
1/4 cup Craisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped pancetta
cubed fresh Mozzarella
maybe a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp sage
salt and pepper
croutons (in this case I had leftover bread pudding that I cut up and used)

The first thing to do is cook the acorn squash.  Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and place cut side down in a pan with a little water.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft and easy to scoop out.  You should also cut up one butternut squash and roast with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  You could put both in the same oven, but have the butternut squash on the top rack.


While they are roasting away, take a package of sweet Italian sausage, remove the casings and cook.

Add the sausage to a large bowl.  Combine the craisins, pine nuts, and dried chopped onion, and whatever you chose to use as your "bread".  I had some panchetta in the fridge, so I diced a couple of slices and tossed it in.   If you don't have pancetta, no worries.   You could just go with the sausage.  You could also add bacon bits if you had them.  That is what is so great about stuffing.....there is no right or wrong!

Keep in mind that I never measure ingredients when I make a stuffing.  I tried to watch how much I put in and guessed at the approximate measurements for those of you who really like exact amounts.... You really have to taste it to know how much you need to add.  For example, I began with a small amount of sage because it can be over-powering sometimes.  When I tasted the stuffing, I thought it needed quite a bit more.

I keep building this stuffing, adding the roasted butternut squash, some shredded Parmesan cheese, and even some cubed fresh Mozzarella.  If you don't have the cheese, substitute another type, or you could simply leave it out all together.  This is what is so good and fun about making up a can add as much or as little as you like of whatever you like!

The last ingredient is the acorn squash.  I took a fork and loosened it, and add it to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

Only thing left is to taste, and holy cow.  It was so good!  I could have eaten it right out of the bowl!   I put the two hollowed-out squash in a roasting pan and piled the filling in.

Bake them for about 20 minutes or so.   The cheese should be melted and the tops are just a little browned.

The squash was so large, I cut each one in half .  My idea of squash-stuffed squash was a total success. Have fun experimenting, using whatever you have on hand.

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