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Recipe: When there’s a chill in the air, make this hearty stuffed acorn squash with sausage and farro

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage and FarroSally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Start the winter squash season with mild, buttery acorn filled with farro and sausage. The squash has a hard, thin skin that's next to impossible to peel. Luckily, there's no need to remove it. Just bake the squash cut in half until the flesh is soft, then fill the halves with sweet Italian sausage, farro, kale, sage, rosemary, and Parmesan, and bake again briefly. The skin is tender and edible when well cooked, so you can eat it, if you like (that's a matter of taste). Pearled farro, which has the outer bran removed, is the type found on most grocery shelves because it cooks in a relatively short amount of time. If you're using semi-pearled or whole farro, it will take longer; follow package directions. Mixed with sausage, farro gives this dish an earthy flavor. It's a filling fall supper for the nights when there's a chill in the air.

    FARRO

    • 2

      cups water

    • ½

      teaspoon salt

    • ½

      cup pearled farro

  • 1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water and salt to a boil.

  • 2. Add the farro and lower the heat to a simmer. Set a lid on slightly askew. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the farro is slightly chewy but not hard in the center. Drain into a colander but do not rinse.

  • SQUASH

    • 2

      medium acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each)

    • ½

      bunch Lacinato kale or Tuscan kale

    • Olive oil (for brushing)

    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    • 1

      tablespoon olive oil

    • 2

      shallots, finely chopped

    • 2

      stalks celery, finely chopped

    • 1

      tablespoon chopped fresh sage

    • 1

      tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

    • 4

      sweet Italian sausages (1 pound), meat removed from casings or 1 pound loose sweet Italian sausage

    • 6

      tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

    • 2

      tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

  • 1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • 2. Trim the squash ends so they are flat. Halve them crosswise. With a sharp-edged spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them cut sides down on the baking sheet.

  • 3. Bake the squash for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Leave the oven on.

  • 4. Stack the kale leaves. Cut across them into thin ribbons, slicing through the stems; stop when you get to the thick part of the stems.

  • 5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shallots, celery, sage, and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.

  • 6. Crumble the sausage into the pan, and cook, stirring often to break up the meat with the side of a cooking spoon, for 8 minutes, or until the sausage is lightly browned. Add the kale and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until it wilts. Stir in the farro with a pinch of pepper; the sausage may be fairly salty, so you may not need salt.

  • 7. Divide the filling among the halves. Return them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a rounded tablespoon of Parmesan.

  • 8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Start the winter squash season with mild, buttery acorn filled with farro and sausage. The squash has a hard, thin skin that's next to impossible to peel. Luckily, there's no need to remove it. Just bake the squash cut in half until the flesh is soft, then fill the halves with sweet Italian sausage, farro, kale, sage, rosemary, and Parmesan, and bake again briefly. The skin is tender and edible when well cooked, so you can eat it, if you like (that's a matter of taste). Pearled farro, which has the outer bran removed, is the type found on most grocery shelves because it cooks in a relatively short amount of time. If you're using semi-pearled or whole farro, it will take longer; follow package directions. Mixed with sausage, farro gives this dish an earthy flavor. It's a filling fall supper for the nights when there's a chill in the air.

FARRO

2cups water
½teaspoon salt
½cup pearled farro

1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water and salt to a boil.

2. Add the farro and lower the heat to a simmer. Set a lid on slightly askew. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the farro is slightly chewy but not hard in the center. Drain into a colander but do not rinse.

SQUASH

2medium acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
½bunch Lacinato kale or Tuscan kale
Olive oil (for brushing)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2stalks celery, finely chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 sweet Italian sausages (1 pound), meat removed from casings or 1 pound loose sweet Italian sausage
6tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Trim the squash ends so they are flat. Halve them crosswise. With a sharp-edged spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them cut sides down on the baking sheet.

3. Bake the squash for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Leave the oven on.

4. Stack the kale leaves. Cut across them into thin ribbons, slicing through the stems; stop when you get to the thick part of the stems.

5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shallots, celery, sage, and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.

6. Crumble the sausage into the pan, and cook, stirring often to break up the meat with the side of a cooking spoon, for 8 minutes, or until the sausage is lightly browned. Add the kale and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until it wilts. Stir in the farro with a pinch of pepper; the sausage may be fairly salty, so you may not need salt.

7. Divide the filling among the halves. Return them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a rounded tablespoon of Parmesan.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle with parsley.Sally Pasley Vargas