Stuffed Butternut Squash

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By Chef Amanda DeLaura

This dish is good. Wholesome, healthy, fiery and hearty. Takes some time in the oven but the actual labor load is as light as it gets. All that is required of you is a little scooping of seeds from the squash and slicing of red onions. You can use honey butternut if available, as they’re sweeter, cuter, smaller and better for single-size servings. Serve with charred broccoli and braised green beans. Wishing you a happy new year, easy cooking and many good eats to come! Bon appétit!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 small butternut squash

1/4 cup butter

2 sliced red onions

3 sprigs of thyme

1/2 tsp real salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2/3 lb bulk spicy Italian pork sausage

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 cup grated pecorino romano

2 handfuls micro basil greens

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Slice the butternut squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and create large divots to hold the ground pork. Brush each half of squash with a copious layer of olive oil and sprinkle generously with real salt. Place the butternut halves onto a large baking sheet or into a casserole dish, skin-side down and bake for 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup butter in a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan and once melted add 2 sliced red onions, 3 sprigs of thyme, and 1/2 tsp pink salt. Let cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and once the onions begin to sweat, reduce heat to medium-low, season with 1/4 tsp black pepper and continue to cook till very caramelized about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring often so to avoid the onions from burning. Once richly colored and caramelized, remove the onions from the heat heat, add 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, let cool and discard the sprigs of thyme. In a medium bowl, combine 2/3 lb bulk pork sausage, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, and the semi-cooled red onions.
  3. Once the butternut squash has baked for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and stuff each half with the pork and onion mixture, distributing evenly between the 4 halves. Return the squashes to the oven and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
  4. At last sprinkle 1/2 cup pecorino romano over the pork (about 2 Tbsp per half) and return the squash to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish each with micro basil greens and enjoy.

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