Monday, November 26, 2007

Ultimate Italian Squash

I've been in a cooking mood lately. This isn't always the case, so you can imagine how much Mark is enjoying it and encouraging me to continue! A couple weeks ago I found a recipe in the paper for this squash recipe and tried it last night. Mark declared it MAYBE the best squash he's ever had. (Or at least until the next time he has squash!!!!)

Serves 6
3 medium-size acorn squash, split in half and seeded
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 (26 oz) jar marinara sauce
5 to 7 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the squash halves, open side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet.
(I cut a small piece off the bottom of each piece so they don't tip over.
And I used parchment instead of foil.)
Brush the tops and openings of each squash lightly with the oil.
Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in the center of each squash.
Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake until the squash is fork tender, 50 to 55 minutes.
While the squash is baking, brown the Italian sausage in a large skillet until cooked through.

Add the full jar of marinara sauce and simmer until the squash is done baking.
I used marinara sauce from a local restaurant - it was nicely seasoned and had big chunks of vegetables in it. (and it was red, not pale orange!!!)

I didn't baste the squash while it baked with the butter/brown sugar mixture - but that would have been a really good idea!!

Remove the squash from the oven and evenly divide the sausage and marinara mixture into the center of each of the squash halves.

Sprinkle with the cheese.
Place the squash back in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil - a step I neglected - :(
Serve warm. (Note: these stay very warm for quite a long time - nice!)
To serve, I used these cute pasta bowls I picked up on a visit to a Seattle winery.

It was very yummy and I will definitely make this dish again. I think you could easily get by with less butter and sugar in the first step, but it was very tasty.
I cooked 1 squash that Mark and I split, but I did cook all of the Italian sausage - so now I have 2 packets of 1/3 lb each in the freezer to use another time - and 2/3 jar of marinara for another meal or two.


Lynne said...

Yum! Looks like one I'll have to try. I've seen acorn squash in the store, but have never bought any because I didn't know how to cook it.

kris said...

Lynne - acorn squash is a good winter squash - meaning it stores well - and we use it a lot here. I usually just bake it with butter and brown sugar or soy sauce and maple syrup, and it's very tasty. But the filling turned it into a meal.

Trailhead said...

I haven't made acorn squash in forever, but now I might pick some up. Looks great.

Kitt said...

Ooh, delish! You're a food blogger now!

Gina said...

Kris, this looks and sounds delish! Don't think we have acorn squash here but I'm sure I could use a 'golden nugget' pumpkin. Gx

Britta said...

Hmmm, this looks so delicious, I have to keep this recipe. I bet my sweety will love this too.

Have a great day, Britta

Greenie Gardens said...

That looks soooo good! I don't eat meat but I think I could leave it out and it would still be great!

meresy_g said...

That looks awesome! I always see those squash and never really know what to do with them. Thanks for the step by step.

Zoey said...

That looks very good. I am copying the recipe. DH and I like squash and this looks like something different that we would enjoy.

Thanks for sharing!

Me said...

That looks absolutely delicious. I loved the frozen photos of the lake you took awhile back...I've been behind on commenting and I meant to flag that one to come back to and I didn't. Since I have dial-up (on poor quality phone lines) it is a bit much to open a whole blog.