Autumn is my favorite season. Though I’ve lived in the south (say-owth) most of my life (since about 9), the beauty of autumn remains in the memory of a little Italian Yankee born in upstate New York.
I love the beauty and smell of brightly colored leaves, corn fields and crisp fresh air along with the flavors of fresh apples, warm apple cider and winter squash. I love crisp cool mornings in warm PJs. I love wearing sweatshirts and yoga pants and then snuggling up in a blanket in the evenings.
While my tan, heat-loving, beach-hugging, straight-haired friends mourn the loss of sand-filled summers, I shout “I FEEL ALIVE!” as evil humidity ceases to be a threat to my curly hair, at least for a few months. (Yes, I literally shout that every fall.) Cool autumn air fills me with energy!
Perusing my local health food store, I found these adorable little squash(es?) among a group of interesting varieties I hadn’t ever used. This variety is known as Sweet Dumpling. The truth is, they looked so cute sitting there, I couldn’t pass them up…
The recipe calls for four slices of Yummy Grain Free Bread. I make several loaves at a time and keep them in the freezer so it’s always on hand.
- 4 small Sweet Dumpling squash
- extra virgin olive oil (or ghee)
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 lb. Italian chicken sausage (casing removed)
- 1 teaspoon ground rosemary
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 slices Yummy Grain Free Bread, toasted
- ½ cup dried cherries, optional (or chopped apple, or chopped dried apricots)
- ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (if tolerated)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375F. Cut tops off of the squash. Scoop out seeds. Rub insides with ghee or olive oil. Bake 35-45 minutes or until tender when pierced.
- Meanwhile, heat saute pan to medium. Once hot, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the onion and celery. Saute until soft. Add sausage and break up into small pieces. Saute until sausage is fully cooked. Remove from heat.
- Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Return to heat. Add white wine and spices. Cook for several minutes until the liquid reduces.
- Add dried cherries (or whichever fruit you prefer, if desired). Using a knife, cube up three of the pieces of grain free toast and add to sausage mixture. Stir well and set aside.
- Once squash is finished roasting, fill the cavities with the sausage mixture.
- Take remaining piece of toast and pulse in mini food processor, or just break it up with a fork in a small bowl. Add grated Pecorino Romano cheese and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir with a fork. Sprinkle on top of stuffed squash.
- Bake for 10-15 more minutes or until browned on top.