For those of you who are not familiar with delicata squash, don’t feel too bad. You’re not alone. I’m just learning about this one and am delighted to tell you that it is delicious. This little-known member of the winter squash family grows into a cream-colored cylindrical shape with green or orange stripes. Typically, each one weighs in at a little over one pound. It has thinner skin than acorn or butternut squash, making it tender and totally edible. The flesh is sweet with a color similar to that of a sweet potato.
I’ve come across so many tempting delicata squash recipes lately, that I’ve been on a quest to find these beauties. Turns out that our local farm market, Duffield’s, has them. And they’re homegrown. This is their first time offering them and I hope they continue to do so each and every year.
The first step is to scrub the squash clean, especially since you won’t be removing the skin. Do your best to cut each one evenly in half lengthwise. Be very careful. The skin may be tender but the raw squash can be difficult to cut through.
Once the seeds and membranes are removed, the cut sides are brushed lightly with olive oil then seasoned with salt & pepper. After a thirty minute roast, the squash will be tender with lovely caramelized edges.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing by browning the sausage along with the onion & garlic. The kale can be prepped while the sausage is cooking. Be sure to clean the fresh kale by soaking it in cold water then placing it in a colander to drain …lift the soaked kale from the water by the handful when transferring it to the colander. Don’t pour the whole thing in since you’d be transferring the residual sand or grit with the water.
Once the sausage is browned, add the chopped kale along with the raisins and broth. The mixture is covered and simmered for about 10 minutes until the kale is tender. The shredded cheese is them mixed in and you have your stuffing.
Divide the mixture evenly amongst the four squash halves, sprinkle each one with the panko breadcrumbs and grated nutmeg. They are all set for the final bake at this point. You can prepare these, up to this point, early in the day and finish baking them at the last minute. Stress-free entertaining, at its best!
You now have a delicious sweet & savory dish that can be enjoyed as an entree or side. Slice each halved squash into four or five pieces for ease in serving.
sausage stuffed delicata squash
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Perfect balance of savory & sweet. Can be enjoyed as an entree or side dish.
- 2 medium delicata squash, halved lengthwise & seeded (about 1 pound each)
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 8 ounces uncooked mild italian sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (about 3 ounces)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 cups torn or roughly chopped fresh kale, stems removed (about 7 ounces)
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
- 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (or gluten-free panko bread crumbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush cut sides of squash evenly with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Place cut sides up on a large baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook about 10 minutes or until sausage is browned and onion is tender, stirring to break sausage apart. Add kale, raisins, and broth; stir to combine. Cover; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Spoon sausage mixture evenly into squash halves. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and nutmeg evenly over the sausage mixture. Bake for 10 minutes or until squash is tender and topping is golden.
Lacinato kale was used in this recipe. You'll start out with at least 13 ounces. Once the stems are trimmed, the net weight of the 8 cups of chopped kale should be around 7 ounces. Check this out for a quick tutorial on the best way to remove the kale stems.