Monday, September 28, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash + Meat Sauce Too

I didn’t rush to post the recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash, since my one child that didn’t like the acorn squash the first time still didn’t like it this go round. My goal in posting recipes is to pass along ideas of meals or sides you can make that have a high likelihood that both the kids and the parents will enjoy. But, I still think this one is worth sharing. First it’s such a comforting, cozy Fall dinner. And second, the remaining meat mixture you have left after stuffing the acorn squash can be combined with your favorite jarred tomato sauce and voila!: a fabulous meat sauce (which goes over particularly well here when served over Trader Joe’s Alphabet Pasta). So, all is not lost if one of your kids still isn’t digging the squash.

Stuffed Acorn Squash (makes 4)

2 acorn squashes, sliced in half, seeds scooped out
Olive oil
Rimmed baking sheet
1 lb ground beef (preferably lean)
4 Sweet Italian Sausages, casings removed
1 large (or 2 small) onion(s), chopped
2 handfuls of shredded Mozzarella
1 handful of shredded Asiago or Parmesan
(1 extra handful of either cheese to sprinkle on top)
Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil on the rimmed baking sheet and rub the cut side of the acorn squash in it so it’s lightly covered. Turn it right side up and pinch a little salt and pepper onto the acorn squash (kids can help with this part). Put it back down on the sheet (cut side down so you’ve got these four little mounds looking at you). Bake it for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, in a large fry pan, sauté the beef, sausage and onion until cooked. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheeses. If you get done with this part before the squash is done cooking, let it sit (off the heat) and pick up a magazine. Once the squash comes out of the oven, turn it cut side (sunny side) up (green side down). If it’s too wobbly on its base, simply cut across the base—just a little—enough to make it level. Then stuff each squash with as much of the meat mixture as you can fit in there. Sprinkle with cheese. Pop back into the oven for another 15 minutes, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

This can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave, so perfect for a bust night in the week ahead. And, as mentioned above, any extra meat mixture can be combined with your favorite jarred sauce for an instant second meal of a fabulous meat sauce to go on pasta!

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