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Stuffed Squash galore: Carnivale and Delicata

November 30, 2008

Stuffed Carnivale Squash

You might be wondering where the heck my Thanksgiving posts are, and why I didn’t share any perfect recipes for the big day before hand. Honestly, I’m wondering that myself, and all I can do is blame the fact that I am still a grad student and am nearing the end of the semester, and it’s enough that I manage to eat things besides frozen Trader Joe’s burritos. I did make Thanksgiving dinner this year, for the first time, and it was great! And I even have pictures. But who knows how long it will take me to get those photos off my camera and into this blog, so in the meantime, I wanted to share something else I’ve been eating a lot of lately: stuffed squash.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve probably realized that, come fall, I get a little obsessed with squash. I have made southwestern-style stuffed acorn squash, a pancetta bechamel-stuffed spaghetti squash, and man, lately I just can’t seem to stay away from butternut squash. And in the space of two weeks recently I made three different types of stuffed squash.

Stuffed delicata squash

One of them, I sadly have no pictures of, but it was kind of basic and boring, anyway. The other two, though, were well worth sharing: One, a rice and beans stuffed (vegetarian!) carnivale squash, the other, a sausage, white bean, and sage stuffed delicata that tastes exactly of fall.

Roasted delicata squash

I will admit that I overdid it a little with the sage in these stuffed delicata, but despite my overzealous-ness, this is a great recipe: creamy white beans, hot Italian sausage (you can never go wrong with sausage), swiss chard, and sage. I adapted the idea from one of my favorite blogs, Eggs on Sunday. Of course, her version is vegetarian, but I never seem to be able to leave well enough alone, and just have to throw in the pork products. Either way, this one is impressive and delicious. Just take it easy on the sage.

White Bean and Sausage Stuffed Delicata Squash

  • 2 delicata squash, sliced in half with seeds removed
  • 2 links of hot Italian sausage
  • about half a red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • about 2 c. swiss chard, chopped roughly
  • about 1 T. finely minced fresh sage (I probably used closer to 2 tablespoons, and it was too much)
  • 1 14-ounce can of white beans, mostly drained
  • salt to taste
  • about 1/2 c. parmesan, grated
  • about 1/4 c. bread crumbs

Sage and bean filling

Heat the oven to 400F. Place the squash in a baking dish, cut side down, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is soft and cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the casings from the sausage, and heat the sausage in the skillet, breaking them up with the back of spoon. When the squash are about half way cooked and have released some fat, add the garlic, red onion, and sage. (If the sausage are relatively lean, like mine were, throw in about half a tablespoon of olive oil, just to soften the onion a bit.)

When the onions are slightly browned and translucent, add the swiss chard. Stir, sauteing, until the greens have wilted a bit, then add the white beans. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through, add salt to taste, then set aside.

Once you’ve removed the squash from the oven, let them cool until they are easier to handle without injury. Use a spoon to scoop the filling into the squash, top with parmesan and a sprinkle of bread crumbs, then throw them back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or just long enough for the cheese to melt and brown a bit. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

The perfectly round (and oddly adorable) carnivale squash I bought was stuffed with one of my all-time favorite comfort foods: rice and beans.

Rice and beans

I have talked before about how much I love the rice and beans, and I’ve been working on perfecting a recipe for quite some time now. I must say, this one was definitely near the top of the list, and stuffing it into a delicately sweet and nutty carnivale squash just made it that much better. What also made it better? I finally found Queso Fresco here in Boston, and mixed it into the rice and beans right before throwing it into the oven. It added a perfect, slightly salty and creamy balance to the spicy rice and beans. I love Queso Fresco.

Carnivale Squash Stuffed with Rice and Beans

  • 2 small carnivale squash, tops sliced off and seeds removed
  • 1/2 c. white rice
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil or corn oil
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can of black beans, drained
  • about 1/3 c. crumbled Queso Fresco

Heat the oven to 400F. Place the squash in a baking dish, cut side down, and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the squash are cooked through and soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, mix the rice, broth, tomato paste, cumin, cayenne, and a bit of salt in a sauce pot, and set on high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Add the green and red peppers, and continue to cook until they are soft. Add the beans, and heat through. When the rice is finished, add it to the skillet with the beans and stir to combine. Mix in the Queso Fresco.

When the squash have cooled enough to handle, flip them over and use a spoon to fill them with the rice and beans mixture. Put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes, just long enough to brown the tops a bit and let the flavors meld together. (Honestly, I don’t even know if you have to put them back in the oven for that remaining 10 minutes, because everything is already cooked, but I always do it anyway.) Once you’ve removed them from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

Seriously, stuffed squash is just one of my favorite things ever. It looks so lovely and impressive, and is very versatile. I just want to spend the rest of winter making up various stuffed squash recipes. In fact, I recently saw an Alton Brown Good Eats episode in which he makes stuffed squash without cooking the squash first. I was, of course, very intrigued, and I think I’ll have to try that one next.

Not, however, before I share my Thanksgiving dinner recipes. I know they’re a little late, but at least this time they’ll be up for next year! And of course, Christmas dinner is coming up soon, and when I was growing up at least, they had nearly the same menu, anyway, so, you know, they might come in handy. Right?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2008 1:42 pm

    I love the rice-and-beans stuffed squash! What a great Idea! I, too, get a little squash-obsessive when fall rolls around – so far this year I’ve made pumpkin lasagna, potimarron gratin, and butternut squash sticky toffee pudding (recipe coming soon!), just to name a few.

  2. colleen permalink
    December 31, 2008 11:27 pm

    Thanks for the sausage-stuffed delicata recipe. We nearly fell off our chairs at dinner from food heavenliness! I didn’t use white beans, chard, or sage (didn’t have them). Instead used a small semi-tart apple, collard greens, and thyme. Still delicious!

    • Margaret permalink
      October 8, 2010 2:22 pm

      A small chopped apple, walnuts, chard and thyme. Ahhh!


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