I discovered this recipe in the February issue of Good Housekeeping. I pulled it out of the magazine in July when cleaning out the magazine rack and thought it looked good. On Sunday night I finally made it. The kids looked at it like it was from a foreign planet but once they actually took a bite they cleaned their plates. They didn't clean out the acorn squash like Matt and I did but I was glad they actually ate and liked it. I thought that the acorn squash tasted a lot like a sweet potato, so I can understand why a lot of recipes with acorn squash involve cinnamon. Anywhoo, here's the recipe. I hope you enjoy!
* 2 (1 1/2 pounds each) acorn squash, each cut in half and seeded
* 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil
* 2 ounce(s) pancetta, finely chopped
* 1 small (4 to 6 ounces) onion, finely chopped
* 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
* 1/8 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
* 1 1/2 cup(s) cooked white kidney (cannellini) beans, or 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium white kidney (cannellini) beans
* 1/4 cup(s) water
* 1 package(s) (7.4 ounces) heat-and-serve precooked wild rice, do not heat
* 4 teaspoon(s) (pignoli) pine nuts
* 1/2 cup(s) packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 15 1/2-inch by 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with foil. On large microwave-safe plate, arrange squash halves in single layer, cut sides down. Microwave on High 9 to 11 minutes or until knife pierces flesh easily.
2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add pancetta and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until browned and crisp, stirring frequently. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; do not remove skillet from heat. To drippings in skillet, add onion, celery, crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. In small bowl, mash 1/4 cup beans with water. Into vegetables in skillet, stir rice, mashed beans, whole beans, pancetta, 2 teaspoons pine nuts, and half of basil.
3. On prepared jelly-roll pan, arrange squash halves in single layer, cut side up. Divide bean mixture among squash cavities, pressing firmly into cavities and mounding on top. Cover pan with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until squash and vegetables are golden on top. Garnish with remaining pine nuts and basil.
Tips: When picking out an acorn squash you want one that seems heavy for it's size, it should be dark green in color with orange not yellow, this is the part that touched the ground, the skin will also be hard. You do not want one that is soft!
Also in order to get a clean cut for this recipe...pierce the skin with a fork and microwave a few minutes before attempting to cut. Matt and I made a huge mess trying to get the suckers cut in half without that little tip! Wish I had thought to take a picture!