Acorn Squash & Chestnuts
Goat cheese, oven-roasted acorn squash stuffed with roasted chestnuts, toasted bread crumbs, sautéed leeks, celery, Granny Smith apples & fresh thyme (all mixed with heavy cream, parsley, vegetable broth, salt & pepper), topped with sage leaves
Ingredients: 1 ball pizza dough flour for dusting
semolina flour for pizza stone olive oil 1 log of goat cheese 1 or 2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise & seeded 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ¾ cups diced celery 1-2 leeks, halved lengthwise & sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled & diced 2-3 cups day-old rustic rye bread (or whatever type you prefer), crusts removed & diced 1-2 cartons of whole chestnuts ½ cup chopped parsley 1/3 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup vegetable broth handful of fresh sage leaves
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400° F. Spread your chestnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer and use a paring or serrated knife to slide an “X” on the flat side of each chestnut. This will keep them from exploding in the oven, and make them easier to open by hand. When the oven is hot, bake the chestnuts for about 25 minutes, or until the shells open.
Decrease your oven temperature to 350° F. Brush the cut side of your acorn squash with olive oil, and sprinkle the cavities with salt & pepper. Then place them cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, until they begin to get tender.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with three tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, leeks and couple pinches of salt & pepper and let soften, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.
Add the apples and thyme and increase the temperature to medium-high, cooking for another 5 minutes. When the apples are soft, transfer the entire mixture to a large bowl, stirring in the bread, chestnuts, parsley, cream & stock, and seasoning with salt & pepper.
When the squash are ready, turn them cut side up and spoon generous heaps of the stuffing into the cavities. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the dough using the instructions on the right. When the stuffed squash are done, increase the oven temperature to 550° F, or as hot as it will go. Cut the squash (including the stuffing) into slices that can be laid flat on the pizza.
When the dough has pre-baked for a minute, take it out and brush with olive oil. Crumble half of the goat cheese evenly across it, and add the sliced acorn squash, each with a scoop of the stuffing. Crumble the rest of the goat cheese on top along with the sage leaves, and put the pizza in the oven. Bake until the cheese is melty and the crust is golden brown, and then it’s ready to eat!
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