ULTIMATE ITALIAN SQUASH
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.)
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.
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.
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.