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Farro and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • December 6, 2021

Fall is squash season, and although I love using all kinds of squash as side dishes, sometimes I let them take a starring role, as in this stuffed acorn squash recipe that makes a great main dish. I love a good bread or rice stuffing, but wanted to give farro a try this time, adding some sausage to give it a little extra oomph. If you’re a vegetarian, you could easily omit the sausage and it would still taste delicious. The recipe contains a number of steps, but if you plan well, you can make it all ahead of time and place it in the oven just before dinner. Start by roasting the squash in the oven, let it cool slightly, then scoop out the cooked squash.

Cut the squash into large chunks.

Add the chunks of squash to the cooked farro, sausage and cheeses.

Spoon the stuffing back into the squash.

Sprinkle grated mozzarella on top. If you have more stuffing than will fit into the two halves (and most likely you will), butter a small casserole and place the stuffing inside.

Bake for about a half hour, then turn on the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top nicely. Be careful, it will burn easily!

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Farro and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • 1 large acorn squash
  • salt, pepper
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 links Italian sausage
  • ¼ cup onion, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, minced
  • ½ cup farro
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • a couple of leaves of minced fresh sage
  • a small amount of minced parsley
  1. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, rub the cut ends with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Place in a 350 degree oven, covered with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.
  3. Let the squash cool.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, add the farro and a pinch of salt.
  5. Cover with a lid, and let simmer on low heat for about 20-25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  6. Let the farro come to room temperature.
  7. Take the casings off the sausage and break up the sausage into bits, cooking in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
  8. Add the minced onion and minced celery, and cook until softened,
  9. Scrape the cooked squash from the interior of the squash, cutting into large pieces.
  10. To the cooked and cooled farro, add the squash, the cooked sausage, onion and celery, the beaten egg, the parmesan cheese and most of the mozzarella cheese, keeping some aside to sprinkle on top. Season with salt, pepper and the minced parsley.
  11. Mix thoroughly, then stuff back into the squash.
  12. You will have more than will fit into the squash, so butter a small casserole and place the remaining stuffing inside,
  13. Sprinkle more mozzarella cheese on top.
  14. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  15. At the end of 30 minutes, turn on the broiler for a few minutes to allow for greater browning on top, but keep an eye on it since it can burn easily,.

Stuffed Squash and Pumpkin

  • October 20, 2011

While I lament saying goodbye to the juicy tomatoes, sweet corn and other wonderful summer New Jersey produce, a chill in the air offers an opportunity to welcome back enticing fall produce, including winter squashes and pumpkins. Small squashes, like this carnival squash, are not just pretty to look at,  but they’re delicious too – kind of like an acorn squash that’s variegated. For me, squashes and pumpkins provide the perfect receptacle for stuffing, and hopefully you’ll try one of these three recipes. This first one can be vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth – and features a risotto with kale, mushrooms and chunks of squash.

This second one is just a plain old pumpkin – the kind you use for carving jack o’lanterns – only smaller. It’s stuffed with acini di pepe, or pastina, an idea I found on Proud Italian Cook, a terrific Italian food blog written by my friend Marie. Pastina is my all-time favorite comfort food and takes me back to my childhood, when my mom served this to me anytime I wasn’t feeling up to snuff. This version is kicked up a notch with the addition of the squash and the presentation is a lot different from when I was a child.
This third version features a versatile stuffing that would taste great as a stuffing for chicken or turkey. With sausage, apples and bread as the main ingredients, you could throw this in a casserole, serve it with a salad and your dinner would be complete. Actually any of these stuffings would work equally as well in a bowl rather than in a squash or pumpkin, but you have to agree that they look much more inviting like this. If you’re so inclined, just cut the tops off the squash/pumpkins, scoop out the insides, then rub with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the lids back on, and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until they’re softened a bit, but not so soft that they lose their structure.

For the bread and sausage stuffing, you’ll need to bake it again for about 30 minutes, at about 400 degrees. For the pastina and the risotto stuffing, no further cooking is needed. Just slice into it and enjoy.

Stuffed Squash and Pumpkins

Printable Recipe Here

Choose small pumpkins or squash. Cut a circle on the top and extricate the stringy parts and seeds. I find a grapefruit spoon helps a lot here. Oil the interior, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put the lids back on (it helps to steam the interior) and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. If you’re serving it with the pastina or the risotto, you might want to bake it the full hour (or until tender enough to eat). For the bread/sausage stuffing, you’ll be placing it in the oven again, so 45 minutes should suffice.

Bread/Sausage Stuffing

This makes enough to fill 2 to 3 small pumpkins or squash

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, minced
3 T. olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage
about 4 cups bread, cubed (use a sturdy Italian bread)
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
minced parsley
salt, pepper
1 egg, beaten

Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until limp. Take the casing off the sausage and cook with the vegetables until barely cooked through. Drain off some of the fat, but not all. Add the bread, parsley, salt, pepper, and apple and combine. Whisk the egg in a bowl, then add it to the stuffing ingredients and mix through. Place stuffing inside pumpkin and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Keep the lid off to get a nice browning on the top. If it looks like it’s getting browned too quickly, lower temperature to 350 degrees.

Pastina Stuffing

pastina or acini di pepe
chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
parmesan cheese

I don’t give quantities for this because you can be free and loose with it, depending on how much squash you want to use, how liquidy you want the pastina, etc.
Roast some squash in the oven by rubbing with olive oil, salt and pepper and baking for about 1/2 hour at 375 degrees. Cut into small pieces. When I roast squash, I usually make enough to have leftovers the next day.
Simmer the pastina in some chicken broth until cooked through, and add the squash pieces to the pastina. Make it to the consistency you like by adding more or less chicken broth. To me, it tastes best and looks best when it’s almost like a porridge, and not too liquidy. Sprinkle with a little fresh thyme, grated parmesan cheese and pour into individual pumpkins.

Risotto Stuffing

This makes enough to fill three or four small pumpkins or squash

1 cup arborio rice
3 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 leaves lacinato kale or any other type of kale
8 mushrooms
1 cup squash or pumpkin, cut into small pieces
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, hot
about 1 cup cheese (you could use parmesan, cheddar or fontina – any cheese that melts well. I used a cheese called Herdsman, freshly made from Cherry Grove Farms, not far from Princeton in Lawrenceville, N.J.)

Saute the onion in the oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and saute slightly. Add the rice and stir to coat. Pour in the wine and stir some more. Add the kale, cut into small pieces and the squash or pumpkin. Add the hot broth, a ladle-full at a time, and stir after each addition. Keep doing this for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the cheese, but reserve some for the top. Pour into the pumpkin or squash, sprinkle with a bit of the reserved cheese, and serve.