This family meal features acorn squash halves that are roasted until tender and then loaded with a creamy mixture of Italian sausage, mushrooms, rice, and Fontina cheese. What more could you want in a cozy fall dinner?
FOR THE SQUASH:
medium sized acorn squash
- 2 tbsp.olive oil
- Salt and pepper
FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 tbsp.olive oil
- 8sage leaves, chopped
- 1 lb.
ground Italian sausage
- 8 oz.
baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2red onion, chopped
cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp.fresh thyme, chopped plus more for garnish
- 1/2 tsp.salt
- 1/2 tsp.
ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 c.cooked rice
- 1/3 c.heavy cream
- 1 c.grated fontina or monterrey jack cheese
- For the squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Carefully cut the squash in half, through the stem. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous center. Place on a baking sheet cut-side up. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Flip each half over, placing them cut side down, and continue to roast for 15 minutes or until very tender. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
- For the filling: While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the sage and cook for 30 seconds or until dark green. Add the sausage to the skillet. Cook until fully browned, breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage-sage mixture to a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release their liquid and the onions are softened, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked rice and heavy cream. Stir in 1/2 cup fontina cheese until well combined. Stir the sausage back into the mixture. Let simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.
- Flip the squash cut-side up and divide the filling among each squash half. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup fontina. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything is warm throughout. Garnish with more fresh thyme leaves and black pepper before serving.