2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 cup wild rice blend
1/2 pound ground venison
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup pecans, toasted & finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup grated ricotta salata cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add rice to 2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand covered for 10 minutes, then fluff.
- Drizzle the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until tender when poked with a sharp knife. Keep warm.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, garlic, thyme and cranberries and saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add venison and continue cooking, breaking up the meat, until browned. Add the rice, pecans and 1/2 cup ricotta salata; stir to combine; season to taste. Stuff each squash half, top with the remaining ricotta, a fresh thyme sprig and serve right out of the squash.