I love love love this cookbook. It's called Almost Meatless. While I'm not a vegetarian, I do try to limit the amount of meat I eat, and also do my best to be mindful of where it comes from. This is a great recipe for winter. And as a side bonus, my husband, who hates squash, loves this recipe, too!
Barley Pilaf Stuffed Squash
2 small butternut squash, or 1 large squash halved, seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (about 1/2 ounce) dried porcini mushrooms*
3 cups hot water
1 cup barley
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces sweet Italian sausage (or your favorite flavor)
2 cloves garlic minced (about one teaspoon)
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (I use about 1/2 tablespoon dried)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons basalmic vinegar
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375.
To Prepare The Squash: Rub the insides with the 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper and transfer to a large roasting pan that will fit all the pieces without crowding. Roast in the oven, cut side down, for 45 minutes to an hour, until the squash is fork tender.
Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, let the mushrooms steep in the hot water in a medium saucepan for about 15 minutes. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms, chop, and set aside. Bring the soaking water to a boil, add the barley, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the barley is cooked through.
While the barley cooks, add the 2 teaspoons oil to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cut and remove the sausage casings and crumble the meat into the pan. Cook the sausage until it begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, shallot, sage, cranberries, and reserved mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.
Drain the barley through a mesh strainer and add to the sausage pan. Add the vinegar and stir to combine thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients. Season to tasted with salt and pepper. Keep warm until the squash is ready.
When the squash is done, remove from the oven and stuff the craters with the hot barley mixture. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and serve.
* To save time, I use fresh mushrooms, about 8 ounces, and slice them rather thin.