Roasted Squash with Sausage and Apple Stuffing

It always seems strange to me to credit such an elemental combination as stuffing squash with meat, apples, and onions, but this recipe from culinate.com does it as gracefully as any I’ve seen. You can’t go wrong with this. Hold the sausage and go 1.5x on the vegetables if you want to take it vegetarian.
Adapted from the Culinate Kitchen collection, by Caroline Cummins
Ingredients

  • 2 small carnival (or acorn) squash
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Italian pork sausages (about 2 C), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 C fresh crimini mushrooms, washed, dried, and sliced. (Optional)
  • 1/3 C fresh sage leaves, washed, dried, and minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 C fresh breadcrumbs
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450/F.
Halve the squash lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds.
Pour a thin film of olive oil into a large, heavy baking dish. Place the squash halves, cut side down, into the dish. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash is soft and tender, but not mushy.
While the squash is roasting, pour a little olive oil into a large heavy skillet and sauté the sausages, onion, garlic, celery, apple, mushrooms (if using), and sage leaves until the sausage is no longer pink. Turn the contents of the skillet out into a large bowl and mix in the egg and breadcrumbs and set aside.
Place a bit of butter in each squash half. Fill each half with enough stuffing mixture to create a heaping mound in each half. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until lightly browned. Serve with salt and pepper.
Note: If you have extra filling, simply keeping sautéing it till the sausage is done, then serve it on the side.
Serves 4

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