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Author Notes: This is the tale of two recipes becoming a loving couple. I love acorn squash stuffed with sage infused sausage. It just screams "Fall". But, one serving of half a squash with sausage is never enough. A few years ago I came across a green apple risotto recipe, which was good, but needed something extra. I tried adding squash to the risotto and after experimenting with different combinations, I finally settled on this recipe, a sort of deconstructed squash, apple, and sausage risotto. Each forkful has the soft squash, with the tangy risotto and the savory sausage. If you time the three stages right, the squash will be coming out of the oven about the time the risotto is finished cooking. Once assembled, the re-heating time will be minimal. —Pete
- 2 Acorn squash
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 + 1/3 cups onion, finely chopped
- 2 MacIntosh Apples
- 1 cup Bread crumbs (unseasoned, preferably panko)
- 1 bunch Fresh sage
- ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 2 cups apple cider
- 3 cups sodium free chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry, hard cider (can substitute dry white wine)
- 4 ounces Taleggio cheese, cut into small chunks and rind removed
- APPLES AND APPLE BROTH Peel and core the apples. Reserve the peels. Dice the apples into small pieces, keeping each type of apple separate. Heat 3 cups chicken stock with 2 cups apple cider to a simmer. Add reserved apple peels and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Strain out the peel, return the broth to the pan and keep hot.
- SQUASH AND SAUSAGE Combine ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/4 teaspoons apple pie spice; Place ½ tbsp. butter into each squash cavity and sprinkle the spice mix into each cavity. Bake in a large roasting pan, cut side up, at 400 degrees F for 1 hour, until squash is tender yet still holds its shape. (Begin checking at about 40 -45 minutes, depending on size of squash and oven variations). Meanwhile make stuffing: Fry sausage until cooked through. Remove pork to a colander to drain. Drain all but 2 tablespoons drippings from frypan. Add onion, saute 4 minutes. Stir in apple and saute 2 more minutes. Combine the pork, onion, diced macintosh apples, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Taste and season with sage, salt or pepper to taste (depending on your sausage you may not want to add more seasoning). Stir in the parsley.
- RISOTTO In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 tbsp butter. Fry 4 large sage leaves for 2 minutes until crispy. Remove leaves and set a aside. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the butter and heat until shimmering. Add 1/3 cup finely chopped onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add diced granny smith apples; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes more. Add rice; cook, stirring frequently, until rice is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add hard cider, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, then add 1/2 cup apple broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until broth is mostly absorbed. Continue adding broth in 1/2 cupfuls, stirring constantly, and allowing each addition to mostly absorb before adding the next, until rice is tender yet firm to the bite (you may have broth left over). Remove pan from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, taleggio cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and generous pinch pepper, then cover and let stand 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- ASSEMBLE Scoop risotto into each acorn squash so that the risotto forms a dome. Remove enough risotto from each to make an indentation, to which you will add equal amounts of the sausage stuffing. Return the squash to the oven and heat for about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven, top each squash with a fried sage leaf and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Savory (Winter) Squash Recipe