This past weekend, Lapsley Orchard in Brookline, Connecticut had their annual Fall Harvest celebration. Upon parking into the orchard’s lot, I was greeted by a billowing pumpkin patch, overflowing apple trees, Fabyan Sugar Shack’s maple cotton candy, artisan jams and a long row of different types of gourds. I perused the multi-colored delicata, oblong butternut, and rotund buttercups with live music playing and horse drawn wagons passing by in the distance. I purchased an array of festive sweets and gourds including some gourdgeous (ha!) acorn squash.
I decided to roast my plump acorn squash and fill them with a medley of fall flavors. To add texture and a touch of savory and sweet to the stuffing, I folded in leafy kale, nutty farro, Gouda cheese, dried cranberries and pepitas.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cheesy Farro Stuffing
2 acorn squashes, cut in half with seeds removed
3 T unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c farro
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1 bunch kale (about 10 oz), center stems removed, leaves chopped
1 t fresh thyme
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
salt and pepper throughout
1 1/2 c grated Gouda cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sprinkle the insides of the squash halves with salt, pepper, a drizzle of EVOO, and place halves cut side down in a baking dish. Add water about 1/4-inch up the sides of the dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until squash can be pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and flip interior side up in the baking dish.
Meanwhile, heat 1 T butter and 1 T EVOO in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and sautee for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the minced garlic and farro, give a stir and let sautee for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high, pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir in the kale and let cook for another 10-15 minutes until the farro is tender.
Remove from heat and add 2 T butter, dried cranberries, pepitas, salt, pepper, thyme, lemon juice and Gouda cheese. Stir together until combined.
Divide heaping spoonfuls of the farro stuffing evenly among the 4 squash halves. Sprinkle each with remaining Gouda cheese, a drizzle of EVOO, sprinkle of salt and pepper, and place back into the baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just the cheese is melted and golden. Remove from heat, plate and serve. Serves 4.
If you have extra filling, enjoy it the next day for lunch as a spin on risotto!