Gorgeous in every way …
Roasted & Stuffed Acorn Squash!
Autumn is a beautiful time of year, from the leaves changing colors and the crisp cool air to the amazing variety of pumpkins and squashes in every size and shape.
The acorn squash variety reminds me in flavor of a softer textured sweet potato and can go either way, sweet or savory. In fact, any of the squash varieties and pumpkins are very cooperative in that way, and that might be the reason, I have a stash of them right now. My only complaint is that I can’t always decide what to use which variety for. It really doesn’t matter, for at the end of the day there won’t be a safe one among them!
Moving on … quickly. 😉
In all seriousness, when I’m preparing a dish using either a squash variety or pumpkin variety, I do think of the amount needed and that tends to influence my decision making. I enjoy using the acorn squash because it’s the right amount for approximately 4 – 6 people, and in my family I might even have some leftover, just maybe.
When I was baking this, my son asked what that yummy smell was, so I told him Acorn Squash. The look on his face was priceless. He had an extremely perplexed look on his face and then after careful thought, was overjoyed. I realized that he thought I was baking the gazillion acorns that are currently taking over outside (a squirrels feast indeed).
This recipe can be served sliced into wedges as a side dish or a filling main dish and would be perfect for the upcoming holidays.
- 1 large Acorn Squash, cut lengthwise and seeds removed
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
For the Stuffing:
- 1 box Sweet Cornbread Mix (I use Jiffy), baked according to directions on box then cooled
- 10 - 12 Salty crackers, (like Saltines) or 2 slices of stale white bread
- Olive Oil
- 1 small Onion, chopped
- 6 oz Pancetta, diced (thick smokey bacon)
- 1/4 cup Walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup dried Cherries, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp dried Rubbed Sage
- 3 Eggs
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up).
- Carefully slice the Acorn Squash lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon getting all of the stringy bits out.
- Lightly brush the orange flesh with Olive Oil and season with Salt & Pepper.
- Arrange on baking sheet cut side up and roast in preheated 400°F oven on the middle shelf for 45 minutes.
- While squash are baking, start on the stuffing. I start by making the cornbread according to the package directions. Bake them in a muffin tin for about 20 minutes on the top shelf.
- In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add in the chopped Pancetta and keep the it all moving so as not to scorch, continue to cook until Pancetta starts to turn golden, then toss in the Walnut pieces and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, crumble in the cornbread and add in the Pancetta mixture, Salt (go lightly due to the Pancetta) & Pepper to taste.
- Stir in the Rubbed Sage & dried Cherries, mixing well. Now add the eggs and a splash of milk (about 2 Tbls) mixing until well combined.
- By now the 45 minutes should be over, pull out the Acorn Squash and scoop in the Pancetta mixture, about 1/2 cup each half.
- Return to oven and continue to bake for 15 - 20 minutes more or until the stuffing is golden.
- Remove from oven, bring to the table to show off your creation, carefully slice into wedges and serve.
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.