1 cup wild rice blend
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
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
- Add rice to 2 cups water and salt, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand covered for 10 minutes, then fluff.
- Heat oven to 375°F. 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 and top with the remaining ricotta. Place stuffed squash on the same baking pan and bake about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve each squash half hot with a fresh thyme sprig.