Cranberry-sausage stuffing puts this twice-baked butternut squash recipe over the top
Stuffing is hands down my favorite part of the holidays. Only caveat is, it has to be my mom's. I've tried many others over the years, but nothing compares to hers. She uses sausage, cranberries, pine nuts and more butter than I actually want to know about, among other ingredients, but the flavor combination is what epitomizes holiday dinners for me. I could honestly skip everything else on the table, just eat a plateful of stuffing and be content.
The sad thing, however, is that I get to eat that only one time a year. So I decided to take some of the best parts of Mom's stuffing (minus the crazy amounts of butter) and turn it into a seasonal dinner I can enjoy for months instead of one day.
These butternut squash halves are twice baked and packed with sweet sausage, cranberries and rosemary. It's a dinner reminiscent of the holidays, but versatile enough to eat all winter.
Twice-baked butternut squash with cranberry-sausage stuffing recipe
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces ground sausage
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 sprig rosemary leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F, line a baking sheet with foil, and grease it with baking spray.
Place the squash flesh side down on the baking sheet. Cover with another piece of aluminum foil, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the flesh is softened but the squash is still firm enough to hold its shape. Remove from the oven, uncover, flip the squash over, and let it cool for a few minutes.
While the squash cools, into a skillet over medium-high heat, pour the olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the sausage, and break it into small pieces with a spatula.
Cook until the sausage is browned.
Add the cranberries and rosemary to the skillet, and cook until the cranberries start to soften and break down a bit, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh of each butternut squash half, leaving about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch border around the perimeter intact. Place the flesh in the bowl with the sausage.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.
Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
Spoon the filling back into the squash cavities, and return them to the oven.
Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and the tops start to brown.