I thought I’d kick off this year’s annual squash-a-palooza with my all-time favorite recipe.
I discovered this recipe sometime last winter, and I’ve made it at least a dozen times since. It has everything I adore in a meal: sweet & salty taste, tender flesh, and Italian sausage. Seriously, who doesn’t love sweet Italian sausage?! It’s the most amazingly fragrant sausage there is.
This recipe also invokes a feeling of autumn. It warms your tendrils (whatever that is) and has that wonderful fall flavor (apples!). Acorn squash is one of the easiest squash to prep, unlike butternut or spaghetti squash, which are exceedingly difficult to cut into. Just slice these babies in half with a sharp kitchen knife and scoop out the seeds and you’re good to go!
Acorn squash has a bit of stringy flesh, but not too stringy like spaghetti squash. It is also slightly sweet with a nutty flavor, and the Italian sausage and parmesan cheese compliment that flavor perfectly.
Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Roasted acorn squash stuffed with sweet Italian sausage, green apples and Parmesan cheese.
- 2 acorn squash, halved
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 green apples, diced
- 1 tsp. sage, chopped
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut ends off of the acorn squash and then cut each squash in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds and then place halves on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Brush acorn squash with olive and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes or until squash is tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.
- While the squash is baking, make the filling: In a large skillet, saute Italian sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, while breaking up with a fork, until sausage is browned. Drain sausage, but keep a little grease in the pan to saute the onion.
- Saute onions over medium high heat in sausage drippings. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent and tender. Add apples and saute for another 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in sage, bread crumbs, 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and cooked Italian sausage. Stir until cheese is slightly melted.
- Once squash has finished baking, spoon in meat mixture, pressing down with a spoon until squash is filled. Top with remaining parmesan cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.
Cut both ends off of squash and then cut squash in half horizontally with a sharp kitchen knife. Scoop out seeds and then brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
While the squash is cooking, dice a small onion and 2 green apples. In a large skillet, cook Italian sausage over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until browned.
Drain meat, but leave a little bit of drippings in the pan. Add onion to the pan and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add apples and cook for another 2 minutes or until slightly tender.
Remove pan from heat. Add Italian sausage back to the pan, plus sage, bread crumbs, and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and mixture is well combined.
Stuff squash with meat mixture, pressing down with a spoon until squash is filled. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes in 400 degree oven until cheese is melted and browned.
You will probably end up with probably a cup of meat mixture that you can’t stuff into the squash halves. This stuffing is so good you can eat it by itself….or, if you’re more refined than I am, you can re-stuff your squash with the remaining stuffing after you’ve already eaten your serving!