No, not “might” be it, this IS it!
Remember the Johnsonville Sausage recipe contest we hosted a couple of months ago? Well, the judges picked the winners! Actually, they selected the winners back in December — we’re finally announcing the $1,000 Grand Prize Winner and the two $250 runners-up…
Congratulations, Alexa Croft, for your $1,000-prize-winning recipe, Sausage and Seasonal Vegetable Stuffed Squash!
And congratulations to the two runners-up, Julie Merriman for Mulberry Street Sausage Burgers with Roasted Garlic Ketchup and Cathleen Chen for her Attack of the Sausage Wontons!
The judges chose Alexa’s recipe as the Grand Prize winner because it had the highest score on the three criteria: overall appeal of the recipe, originality and presentation, and ease of cooking. Specifically, the tomato, olive oil and herbs not only complement but really highlight the Italian flavors of Johnsonville Italian sausage, the presentation of the sausage as a stuffing in a squash is creative, and the ingredients are all readily available in any local grocery store.
We’ve got Alexa’s full recipe printed here, so when you have a moment, try it out!
(And stay tuned for the full recipes from the two runners-up…)
Sausage and Seasonal Vegetable Stuffed Squash
Alexa Croft’s grand prize winning recipe in TasteSpotting’s Johnsonville Sausage Recipe Contest
Stuff cheery Delicata squash with this sausage and vegetable stuffing for a sweet and savory dish. Or skip the sweet and lean toward savory by using this stuffing in a large spaghetti squash.
1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed, browned and crumbled
3-5 medium delicata squash
5 small dried shiitake mushrooms (or other dried mushroom)
½ cup very hot water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups roughly chopped cauliflower
½ cup roughly chopped celery
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons white cooking wine
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup cubed zucchini
½ cup diced bell peppers
1 cup cooked rice
2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon dried sage
pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
1 cup cup shredded cheddar (optional)
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out and toss seeds, reserve.
Combine dried shiitake mushrooms and hot water and set aside to soak. When mushrooms are plump, roughly chop and reserve soaking liquid. Transfer mushrooms, cauliflower and onion to food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse until the texture of rice.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add cauliflower mixture, reserved mushroom liquid and wine. Saute 10-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and cauliflower mixture is light and fluffy. Add browned sausage and remaining ingredients (except shredded cheese) to skillet, gently toss and heat through.
Scoop and gently pack sausage stuffing into squash and sprinkle with additional paprika. Arrange squash in shallow, oven-proof casserole dish with lid. Pour ¼-inch water into bottom of casserole dish and bake covered for 45-60 minutes or until squash is tender when poked with a fork.
Remove lid, sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese shreds have melted. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.