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Delicata Squash with Orzo

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delicata squash with orzo
Its colorful look alone will have guests ready to dig in, but the taste is even better.

Ingredients

Makes 4 main-dish servings.

2 delicata squash
8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter
3 fresh sage leaves
6 ounces orzo pasta
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup pepitas (green, hulled pumpkin seeds) or chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, halved
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Italian parsley
Handful of fresh pomegranate seeds
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Carefully halve the squash and remove the seeds. Rub cut side with oil, and roast, cut side up, until tender when pierced. Rub the inside of the squash with a little butter.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining butter until it melts and develops a nutty caramel aroma and light brown color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Tear the sage leaves and add them to the saucepan.

3. Cook the orzo until al dente. Drain. Strain the brown butter through a fine strainer, and toss the butter with the orzo and the lemon juice.

4. Roast the pepitas in a dry skillet until slightly browned. Add the cranberries and pepitas to the orzo. (If making ahead, you can wait to add the pepitas to the orzo mixture and fill the squash just before heating. That way the pepitas will retain their crunch.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mound the orzo into the squash. (At this point you can refrigerate until you're ready to heat for serving.)

5. prinkle a layer of bread crumbs on top. Heat in a 250°F oven for about 20 minutes. (If the squash was refrigerated, cover with foil until the last few minutes of baking.) Garnish with parsley, pomegranate seeds, salt, and black pepper.

More: Learn more ways to use winter squash in Winter's Bounty.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Herbivoracious, by Michael Natkin.
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