Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

The final product, after topping with shredded hard Parmesan cheese.

This is a recipe based on one from an Italian friend who uses halved zucchini. After receiving verbal instructions on the preparation, I winged it with an acorn squash I had on hand. Precook the squash in the oven before stuffing it with the sausage and vegetables to ensure it is fork-tender and mellow.  It takes time to set up, but you’ll be impressed by the result. This is an amazing mid-summer garden recipe your whole family will enjoy.



1 large acorn squash – about 8-9″ in length and 6″ in diameter
2 tbs. XV olive oil
2 Johnsonville mild Italian sausage links, casings removed and crumbled
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium-sized green or red bell garden pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium-hot Hungarian wax garden pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium vine-ripe garden tomatoes, diced
2 large, fresh garden basil leaves, minced
Small handful fresh garden Italian oregano leaves, minced
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded hard Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic granules
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste



Preheat oven to 400°-F. Cut and prep all ingredients so you have them on hand and ready to go.

Wash and pat dry the squash. Using a very sharp chef’s knife and a steady hand, carefully slice the squash in half around the middle, perpendicular to the stem. Use EXTREME CAUTION so you don’t slip and cut yourself. The flesh and outer rind are very tough. Remove the seeds and membrane with a soup spoon. Cut a narrow section off of the base of each half so they sit flat. Place in a medium-sized shallow baking dish with the cupped interior facing up. Brush with 2 tbs. olive oil and season lightly with Kosher salt and black pepper. Bake uncovered in the oven for 15 minutes.

While the squash halves are baking, fry up the Italian sausage over medium heat in a heavy cast-iron skillet, breaking it apart as it browns with a spatula. Drain off the fat. Add the chopped onion. Stir until just translucent, about 7 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tsp. garlic granules. Add the cayenne pepper. Add the diced bell and Hungarian pepper. Continue stirring until slightly softened. Remove and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano and Mozzarella cheese. Fold in lightly to combine.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°-F.  Using thick oven mitts, carefully remove the baking tray from the oven. Spoon in the mixture, dividing between the two squash halves.

Place the baking dish back in the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes at 375°-F.

Remove again and carefully top each half with the shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake again uncovered for ten minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Remove, let stand for ten minutes and serve.

Serves 2

NOTE: When perfectly done, the texture of the squash should not be mushy or soupy. It should easily peel away from the outer rind with a spoon, but still have some firmness.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pre-baking the squash at 400°-F with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

Preparing the Italian sausage mixture in a mixing bowl.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

The sausage mixture after roasting in the squash for one-half hour at 375°-F.


Savory Rice with Sautéed Carrot, Onion and Mushroom

This is a super-simple side dish that only takes a few minutes to prepare and is very inexpensive. Pair it with grilled chicken, pork or salmon. Use real butter or it will not turn out.


2 cups instant white rice (5-min)
2 cups water
1 heaping tbs. chicken base
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 tbs. butter
1 small 4oz. can mushrooms, pieces and stems (with juice reserved)
1 medium carrot, washed, peeled and diced fine
1 small onion, minced
1 stalk scallion with greens, trimmed and thinly sliced


In a sauté pan, fry the minced onion and diced carrot in butter over medium heat until tender, but not carmelized. Remove and put aside.

In a covered saucepan, bring the water and reserved liquid from the mushroom to a rolling boil, then add the chicken base, parsley, mushrooms, sautéed onion, carrot and the rice. Season to taste with black pepper.

Stir, remove from heat and let stand covered for five minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender but not overcooked.
Before serving, add the scallion and gently fold in.

Serves 4.

Green Onion Dressing

This is a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse. I’ve made it several times and it is always refreshing. A nice change of pace.


1 cup XV olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup fine-chopped scallion, greens only
1 tbs. chopped garlic
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 tbs. white vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar


Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk for 2-3 minutes. You can also mix in a shaker jar for 30 seconds.

Place in fridge for one hour before serving. Will keep for several days.

Makes 2 cups.

French Onion Soup

A classic recipe. Easy to prepare and perfect with just about anything from prime rib to pork tenderloin. I pull out my trusty cast-iron dutch oven for this one. You can also pair this with a nice tossed salad for lunch.


1 32 oz. can beef broth
1 10.75 oz. can consomme
1/2 cup dry red wine (merlot or cabernet), to taste
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs. Lea & Perrins® worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet®
4 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
Gruyere cheese slices
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet over medium heat, brown onion and garlic until caramelized in 2 tbs. butter. Add a touch of wine to deglaze the pan.

In dutch oven, combine the broth, consomme, worchestershire sauce and remaining wine. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the onion and garlic to the pot, but save the drippings in the skillet.

Reduce the heat on the skillet and add the Kitchen Bouquet and the remaining 2 tbs. of butter. Add flour gradually and mix to form a paste. Fold constantly for ten minutes to form a roux. Add mixture to pot, reduce heat and simmer until incorporated, about one hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat your broiler with the top rack set about five inches away from the heating element.

Ladle servings into four 16-oz. oven-safe soup dishes over a bed of croutons, top with sliced Gruyere or Jarlesburg cheese (Gruyere is preferred) and place in your broiler until just melted, about three minutes. Remove carefully and serve.

Serves 4, about 2.75 quarts.