Updated: Oct 23
Looks wonderful on the plate, tastes wonderful on the tongue.
I must admit, this one is a bit of a show stopper.
I got the thought in my head to do some overly aesthetic and ridiculous meal, and stuffed squash was the first thing that came to mind. Using acorn squashes as bowls for a creamy risotto? How cute is that?
Turns out, pretty damn cute.
I had actually never made risotto before this recipe, but it turned out exactly as it was supposed to: thick, creamy, and super flavorful. Didn't stick to the pan, didn't burn, wasn't too watery, either—though I've never had to babysit rice this badly, I will say.
Now, I know I said I wanted something aesthetic—and for sure, this was—but it was also full of magic that I don't often put into food, namely with the squash itself, and that's a bit of powerful warding magic.
Magic in Autumn Stuffed Squash
The acorn squash, like other gourds (such as butternut, hokkaido, or plain old pumpkin) is one of the many things you can use to make traditional jack-o-lanterns—things that ward all kinds of evil spirits off in these autumn months. But they can also bring in prosperity and fortune, and when you amp that up with pecans, rosemary, and cinnamon, you've got the perfect way to drive evil off while bringing good in.
The elements earth, air, and fire, with the Sun, Mercury, and Mars, give you a recipe that puts up some tough fortifications around the family. The squash especially, like other gourds of its kind, is the cousin of the pumpkin: a fruit we know too well as a spooky carved protector on our doorstep. This acorn squash brings the same idea, as well as a bit of luck and abundance with its many seeds and earthy countenance. Combine that with pecans, rosemary, and cinnamon, and it's a recipe to drive bad things out while luring good things in.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Makes 4-6 Servings
2 acorn squashes, halved
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 links sweet Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
8oz button mushrooms, sliced
400g arborio rice
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp Olive oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano
4 Tbsp butter
3.5 oz smoked gouda, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste
OPTIONAL: toasted pecans and craisins for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Scoop seeds from squash halves, then rub with half of your olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some of your rosemary.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife pierces the skin.
Fry your diced onion, then add garlic when browned. Add crumbled sausage after.
While sausage browns, add sliced mushrooms, then the rest of your seasonings and cook until mushrooms begin to break down.
Put the mix aside, then scoop out the squash (preserving the skin's shape) and add to the mixture.
Add the rest of your olive oil and 400g of rice to the pan. Toss until coated. Add more oil if rice is too dry.
Add white wine and stir constantly until evaporated.
Add hot stock bit by bit until fully absorbed, then return mix to rice and incorporate. Keep an eye on it until the rice is cooked al dente.
Remove from heat, stir in butter, grate cheese into it, stir, and serve in squash skins. Add optional pecans and craisins.
This gave me bragging rights for at least a couple days. Definitely give this a try, because it's delicious, flavorful, cute as all hell, and so very powerful. Enjoy!