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Stuffed Honeynut Squash with Lamb, Dates & Carrot Top Pesto

Naturally portioned, this dish is as easy to serve as it is to make!

Stuffed Maple Acorn Squash with Sausage and Shitakes

Honeynut squash is essentially baby butternut, but with delicious, edible skin. When sliced in half, it becomes perfectly portioned for two, especially when stuffed. Ground lamb is seasoned with a pesto made of carrot tops and pistachios. Those flavors meld effortlessly with chopped Medjool dates and pomegranate arils. Serve these roasted beauties on top of fresh, undressed baby arugula. The sweetness from the creamy squash and date-studded lamb is beautifully balanced with the verdant, peppery bite of the arugula.

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry measuring cups; measuring spoons; spoon; sauté pan; wooden spoon; spoon; rimmed sheet pan

Carrot Top Pesto Ingredients:

green tops from one bunch carrots, washed, dried, and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup shelled pistachios

¼ cup grated Parmesan

1/3 cup olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Squash/Lamb Ingredients: 2 honeynut squash, halved and seeded with stringy flesh removed 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 small onion, diced 1 pound ground lamb

¼ cup carrot top pesto

6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons pomegranate arils kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF degrees.

2. In a food processor, blend the carrot tops, garlic, pistachios, and Parmesan until a coarse meal forms. Slowly add the oil until a puree forms. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reserve ¼ cup of the carrot top pesto and set aside. Store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

3. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Place the four halved, scooped out honeynut squash pieces cut side-down on the oiled and seasoned pan. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion with a pinch of kosher salt and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the lamb and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the clumps of meat into small bits, for about 6-7 minutes.

5. Stir in the ¼ cup of carrot top pesto, Medjool dates, and pomegranate arils. Mix well to combine and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6. Remove the honeynut squash from the oven. Carefully turn over the halves. Evenly distribute each cavity with the ¼ of the lamb mixture. Return the sheet pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more.

7. Serve immediately on a bed of fresh baby arugula with extra carrot top pesto and pomegranate arils, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

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