My children often request this dish. It also adds a great "wow" factor to a festive buffet table.—Andria Peckham, Lowell, Michigan
- 3 small pie pumpkins (about 2 pounds each)
- 1/2 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups cooked long grain rice
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 450°. Cut a 3-in. circle around each pumpkin stem. Remove tops and set aside. Remove strings and seeds from pumpkins; discard seeds or save for toasting.
- In a large skillet, cook sausage, vegetables and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up sausage into crumbles; drain. Remove from heat; stir in rice, 3/4 cup cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and thyme.
- Place pumpkins in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan; fill with rice mixture. Replace pumpkin tops. Bake 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven setting to 350°. Bake 25-35 minutes longer or until pumpkin is tender when pierced with a knife and a thermometer inserted in filling reads 160°. Sprinkle remaining cheese over filling.
- To serve, remove rice. Scoop out pumpkin and serve with rice. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Sausage & Rice Stuffed Pumpkins in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2014
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