Ah, butternut squash. The spokes-vegetable of the autumn months. I use butternut squash so much this time of year, like in my Autumn Couscous Salad. It’s usually one of the first things that I see when I walk into the grocery store, so you can’t blame me for putting one in my shopping cart when I stroll by. I tend to walk right by the other squash options, completely overlooking things like the beautiful acorn squash. Poor acorn squash. Why should butternut squash get all of the attention?
I turned the lesser-known acorn squash into a delicious autumn dinner with my Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash. Roasting the squash at a high temperature makes it so sweet and tender. I fill the squash with a mixture of wild rice, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries that I sweeten up with pure maple syrup. This dish is a simple, healthy meal in itself, and it’s great because most of these ingredients can be found in your everyday pantry.
- 2 acorn squashes, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, diced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1½ cups vegetable stock
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
- ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the squash is tender.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the rice and vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions, pecans, cranberries, maple syrup, orange zest, and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the rice into the cavities of the squash and serve.