Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Butternut Squash
Makes 4 servings
1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (hot and/or mild)
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Manchego cheese, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
Red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and dry the outside of the squash. Make several large slits through the skin of the squash with the tip of a sharp knife to release steam as the squash heats. Microwave the squash on high until the skin softens, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add the sausage. Cook the sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream; stir to combine. Mix in the cheese and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir until well-combined. Remove the pan from the heat.
Once the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the seeds and scrape a bit of the flesh with a melon baller or spoon, leaving a ½-border around the edges. Sprinkle each half with salt and pepper. Add the squash flesh to the sausage mixture; stir to combine. Place squash shells on a foil-lined baking sheet and fill with the sausage mixture. Sprinkle with additional cheeses and red chili flakes.
Place the baking pan in the oven and roast the butternut squash until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.