1poundItalian chicken or turkey sausageabout 2 links, casings removed, sweet or spicy (we use spicy)
8ouncescremini baby bella mushroomsfinely chopped
1small yellow onionchopped
1medium sweet-crisp applecored and finely diced (peel off or on; I left it on)
¼teaspoonground black pepper
1tablespoonchopped fresh sagethyme, or a mix (plus additional for serving)
½cupshredded Parmesan cheesedivided
Bake the squash: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. With a sharp, sturdy chef’s knife, carefully cut the squash in half from stem to base. Scoop out and discard the stringy core and seeds. Arrange the halves cut-sides up on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush each half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the edges begin to wrinkle and the flesh is fork-tender. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
While the squash bakes, prepare the filling: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage. Brown the meat, breaking it apart into small pieces for 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, onion, apple, salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and minced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is cooked through, the vegetables and apple are softened, have given up liquid, and the liquid has cooked off, about 8 additional minutes.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out its flesh, leaving a wall all the way around that is about ¼-inch thick. Add the scooped squash to the pan with the sausage. Add the herbs and ¼ cup Parmesan. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Mound the filling inside of the hollowed squash halves. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the filling is nice and hot, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs as desired. Serve hot.
TO STORE: Place in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
TO REHEAT: Place stuffed acorn squash in a baking dish with a small amount of water in the bottom. Rewarm in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until hot.
TO FREEZE: Place one half of cooked stuffed squash into a quart size freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Put in the fridge until well chilled, and then transfer to the freezer for up to 3 months.
TO REHEAT FROM FROZEN: To reheat, remove a frozen squash half, and place it in a covered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for and 45 to 50 minutes (from frozen). Add additional cheese as desired in the last 10 minutes of baking. You can also reheat the squash half in the microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes.
If you prefer, you can let the squash half thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rewarm according to the "To Reheat" directions above.