Any type of winter squash—butternut, kabocha, delicata, red kuri, even small pumpkins—can be used in this hearty main course. Offering a wide variety of flavors, the recipe celebrates the harvest season.
1. To make Acorn Squash: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, cinnamon, and 2 Tbs. water in small bowl. Brush inside and edges of acorn squash wedges; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is soft enough to prick with tip of knife. Keep warm.
2. To make Basmati and Wild Rice: Toast pine nuts in small skillet over medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and fragrant, shaking pan often. Set aside. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in rice and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
3. To make Braised Vegetables: Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté fennel in oil 10 minutes, or until softened. Add carrots, and sauté 5 minutes more, or until carrots begin to brown. Add 2 cups water, cover, and steam vegetables 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft. Add snap peas, and steam 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in capers.
4. To serve: Place 1 Acorn Squash wedge on each plate. Spoon Basmati and Wild Rice into center of each squash quarter, and top with Braised Vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and add a dollop of cranberry sauce, if desired.