Typically when I’m trying a new recipe I research. I Google, I Pinterest and I pull out the entire contents of my spice cabinet imagining the perfect marriage of flavors until I’ve created a meal that I’d serve to my best guest (aka Roy).
First I set the oven to 400 degrees and prepared the 2 acorn squash from our hay bale garden. They’re ripe when glowing orange shines through the green.
After washing the soil from the skin of the squash I cut them in half , scooped out the seeds and bathed the flesh in olive oil placing them skin side down on a baking sheet. I’m always liberal with my salt sprinkling. To me there is no quicker way to flatten flavor than to be salt stingy. It enhances every other flavor. Including the following which dusted the squash next:
Garlic powder, Cayenne, Nutmeg
Place the acorn squash flesh side down and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate flesh side up and bake another 12 minutes.
While the oven is working away it’s time to engage the stovetop. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add half a chopped onion and 4 chopped garlic cloves sautéing until carmelized. Add your pound of ground turkey with heaping handfuls of basil, oregano and fennel and hit it again with the sea salt. I like to add a sprinkle of white sugar too. No measurements here. Adjust to taste. After the meat is browned add a small can of tomato sauce and cook until all flavors are well incorporated. You can tell a lot from smell but it’s fun to taste to make sure the heat and the sweet are just right.
Once the squash halves are soft dollop about 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese in the well and shred a couple tablespoons of mozzarella on top of that. Begin heaping the turkey mixture into the cheesy well until domed and won’t hold anymore without crumbs falling away. Sprinkle the tops with shredded mozzarella and bake another 10 mins.
2 acorn squash
1 lb ground turkey
Salt, cayenne, nutmeg, garlic powder, oregano, basil, fennel
For serious. This satisfies my craving for Italian food without breaking the carb-bank.