A Vegetarian Thanksgiving
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A Vegetarian Thanksgiving


Roasted Acorn Squash with Squash Risotto
Roasted Acorn Squash with Squash Risotto

Makes 8 servings

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

A delightful and elegant vegetarian entree or side dish for holiday meals. Acorn squash halves are stuffed with an herbed risotto speckled with delectable chunks of butternut squash, then baked until meltingly sweet.

* 4 acorn squash
* 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* Salt to taste
* 6 cups water or gluten-free vegetable broth
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 cup finely chopped leek
* 2 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
* 2 cups Arborio rice
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves, divided
* 2/3 cup pine nuts
* 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each acorn squash lengthwise in half (from tip to stem) then scoop out seeds and strings. Brush squash cavities with olive oil. Season each squash with a pinch of salt. Place halves, cut side down, in baking pan and roast until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, start the risotto by bringing the broth just to simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

While broth is heating, heat the olive oil in a heavy 3-quart pan over medium heat. Add the leek and saute, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash and saute for 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir 2-3 minutes until grains are fragrant. Add wine and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of hot broth to rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure that most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Continue until rice is almost tender, but still firm to the bite, taking about 20-25 minutes total. Stir in one tablespoon of the fresh sage. Season with salt to taste.

In food processor or blender, chop pine nuts just until coarsely ground. Stir in thyme, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sage and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

When acorn squash is cooked, remove from oven. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. Carefully turn squash over and fill each cavity with about 1/2 cup risotto. Gently press about 2 tablespoons of the pine nut mixture on top of the risotto. Return squash to oven and bake until topping begins to brown, about 20 minutes.