Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sausage & Orzo Stuffed Delicata Squash

 
Minnesota has me in a funk today. The trees have lost all their leaves becoming brown, withered, boring and sad - leaving no hope for life. The lawn is frozen solid so when you prance across there is no give whatsoever - leaving no anticipation of a mid-afternoon lawn wrestle with these cuties. The temps are bitter and the wind whips through the windows like Old Man Winter is right around the corner, He was here, but melted in 3 days. I prefer dazzling white to brown, withered and sad. The negativity abounds this evening. There is no hope of sun. Ever. Again.

I'm sitting here, staring out the window, asking myself the age old question: Is this all there is? It's horrible. So I googled becoming a Food Scientist. That lasted all of 3.6 seconds after I discovered a background in physics and calculus is recommended. Let's just stop while we're ahead, mmmK?

Now that I've completely depressed you and myself even further let's commence to stare at the first photo I captured of this beautiful delicata squash! Isn't it pretty? I know!!!!!! Makes me hungry!


The skin of this squash is so thin and delicate it's edible, but not for the faint of heart, by husband wasn't having anything to do with squash skin, but his adorable Aunt gobbled it (politely) up. Fiber grams for the day - CHECK!

When you microwave your squash make sure to thoroughly pierce the skin with a sharp knife so as not to make a Squash Rocket, like me. I just used a fork to pierce here and there and the end of the squash rocketed off while inside the microwave. Squash Rockets are not microwave friendly.
The filling is full of flavor and texture. It starts with Italian sausage sauteed with bell pepper, onion and garlic then flavored with sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. Throw in some pine nuts and orzo to give it a chewy texture. Next, pull out that basil you've been saving since July for dreary, sad days like today and you can savor the fresh flavor.

This meal comes together in about 20-25 minutes, so it's a definite weeknight go-to!

Printable Recipe Here

Sausage & Orzo Stuffed Delicata Squash

Yield: 2 as main, 4 as side

1 delicata squash, washed and scrubbed well
2 Italian sausage links, about 1/2 cup 
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
1/4 cup basil, roughly torn
1 cup orzo, cooked
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce squash with a knife so that steam can escape, place whole squash on microwaveable plate and microwave for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave, cool slightly, slice in 1/2 lengthwise and de-seed. Discard seeds.

Meanwhile, brown and break-up Italian sausage over moderate heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and pepper, cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and pine nuts, brown until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes with oil, saute for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and add torn basil, cooked orzo and pepper, to taste. 

Place sliced squash in a 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Pile stuffing into squash, it will heap over into the dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 20 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature. 

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