A baked stuffed squash - "Brilliant!" I thought. What better vessel to fill with the flavors of fall than a squash? All those rich, earthy tastes mingling in the oven. Problem is, I'd never cooked a squash, didn't know where to buy one, and found out a little late in the process that your pickings among online baked stuffed squash recipes are pretty slim. Armed with absolutely nothing but vague craving I went to the farm stands that are set up around a nearby square. I walked away with two very small sweet dumpling squash. Entirely unconvinced that what I'd bought was even intended to be used as food, I went to the local produce store and invested in that familiar, comforting squash - the butternut. I felt better. I'd just about settled on a stuffing of sausage, onion, mushroom and wild rice, to be topped with provolone cheese, when I came upon this recipe and became obsessed with the idea of sausage and blue cheese and thyme. In the end, there was no reasoning with myself, and after I'd popped the squash in the oven, I ran out to buy blue cheese. And therefore, we have squashapalooza. Refusing to bow to sanity, I made 2 different kinds of baked squash and stuffed each with two different stuffings. Now, this can't be done without consequences, and sadly, you all are the ones to suffer, because my recipes are hazy at best. But hey, I know what else is out there and you might even end up grateful.
pre-heat oven to 450 , cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and all stringy matter, melt 1 T of butter and brush the flesh of the squash with the butter. Place squash face down on a foil covered baking pan. Cook for 50-80 minutes depending on the size of your squash. It can be done a tiny bit before the fork goes in smoothly if you want, because it's going back in for 10 minutes later, but I found it easiest to just let it cook completely.
SAUSAGE, BLUE CHEESE AND THYME STUFFING: - NOT GLUTEN FREE
1.5 sausages, casing removed (I used hot turkey sausage)
.5 C onion diced
1 T olive oil
.75 C homemade croutons - I used 3/4 of a deli roll
.25 C blue cheese, crumbled - I like blue d'auvergne
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of honey
DIRECTIONS: heat olive oil in a non-stick pan, add diced onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add salt and pepper, cook a minute or two more, and set aside. Add sausage to the same pan (don't even bother to clean, you like lazy don't you?) and brown. Break apart the sausage with a wooden spoon as you go. Drain sausage, add to cooked onions. While everything is cooking you can make the bread crumbs. Cut up a roll into crouton sized chunks, toast. Mix toasted bread, sausage, onion, with crumbled blue cheese, drizzle of honey and a few teaspoons of fresh thyme.
SAUSAGE, WILD RICE, MUSHROOM AND SAGE STUFFING: GLUTEN FREE
1.5 sausages, casing removed ( I used hot turkey sausage) - check labels to ensure gf
.5 C onion diced
1 T olive oil
.75 C mushroom diced (I used baby bellas)
.75-1 C wild rice cooked
1 T fresh sage, chopped
.75 C mixed grated provolone and mozzarella - shred your own or check labels, some pre-shredded cheese contains gluten
DIRECTIONS: heat olive oil in a non-stick pan, add diced onions and mushrooms and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add salt and pepper, cook a minute or two more, and set aside. Add sausage to the same pan (don't even bother to clean, you like lazy don't you?) and brown. Break apart the sausage with a wooden spoon as you go. Drain sausage. Mix sausage, onion, cooked rice, sage. After stuffing squash (see below) top by pressing provolone and mozzarella on top.
STUFFING OF THE SQUASH:
After the squash has finished cooking, scoop a bit out of the squash and mix well with the filling. Leave enough squash to hold the edges up, the skin is very soft after this much cooking. After mixing the squash with the stuffing of your choice, spoon it back into the squash. Put it back in the oven and cook for 10 more minutes until nice and melty.
Both are delicious, the wild rice one really tastes like Thanksgiving and the blue cheese stuffing is sweet and salty goodness. So far, Ryan prefers the blue cheese stuffing in the butternut squash, but we haven't tried all possible combinations yet, so the final verdict is still out. Also, both of these can be made vegetarian simply by leaving out the sausage. Make some extra mushrooms or something. I've forgotten to add the sausage many a time with no ill effects.