Minted Apple and Almond Stuffed Carnival Squash

Makes 4 halves or 8 if you cut them into quarters

2 small carnival squash (about 1/2-3/4 pounds each, cut in half, seeds removed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 small, crisp, mildly tart apples, such as Pink Lady, Gravenstein, or Pippin
The juice of 1/2 small lemon
A couple of pinches of salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped, lightly toasted almonds, plus extra for garnish
1-2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped mint, plus extra for garnish
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Slice acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Brush flesh with a bit of olive oil and place flesh side down on prepared baking sheet. Cook 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

2. In a medium skillet, warm 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add shallot and saute 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add apples, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, or until apples are just tender. Remove from heat. Taste. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in the almonds and mint.

3. Divide filling equally among the four squash halves and heat in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Before serving, garnish with chopped almonds and chopped fresh mint, and drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.