I'm so happy that winter squash are making their way back into stores. Prices are low this year on them, so it must have been a good year for growing -- I don't remember acorn squash starting out at 68c each last year! Winter squash store extremely well. If you find a sale, buy a bunch and put them somewhere cool and dry. Garages and laundry rooms often are good places to store squash. As long as the rinds are hard, you have nothing to worry about. Preparing acorn squash is pretty straightforward - it's just as with pumpkins. Chop in half, scoop out the seeds and remember, the rind isn't really good eats. I came up with this the other week because we have a bushel of apples to use, squash tempting me every time I walk by it and crisp fall weather at last. It's easy and delicious.
Serves 2 with leftovers
Preheat oven to 350F.
Scoop out the squash halves so there is about 1/2" remaining flesh on the rind. Finely chop the excess squash and remove to a small bowl. Rub a bit of butter (or olive oil, if you prefer) all over the insides, season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove to cool slightly.
While the squash bakes, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and saute the leek until tender. Add the garlic, spices, apple, leftover squash and sausage, continue to cook until sausage and squash are nicely cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Combine sausage-apple mixture with the cooked rice, pepitas and walnuts. Stuff the squash halves (if you have leftovers, just serve it on the side later) and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is browned.