Double fisting, in the world of the med school student, is a term that refers to the act of drinking two alcoholic beverages simultaneously at a party, bar, or restaurant. To do so requires one to hold a single beverage in each hand, hence the etiology of the colloquialism.

Why would one ever do such a thing? Why not just wait to finish one drink before moving onto the next? Usually it is because of time restraints. For example, one could be at an end-of-the-year medical school formal. That formal might be called December Decadence. It could have been held at the Citigroup building. And may or may not have featured a completely open bar all night long. Along with a chocolate fountain and lots of brie. (Brie dipped in the chocolate fountain? Interesting concept. Alas I didn’t have the wherewithall to try it at the time. Next year. Next formal. Remind me.) And after the formal ends, at midnight (very Cinderella-esque now that I’m thinking about it. But no one turned into a pumpkin. Which is unfortunate considering how much I love pumpkin.) there is probably going to be an after party, at a bar, which will not be “open” at all in any way. In fact, the drinks will probably be very pricy. So what does one do? One “double fists” at the formal where everything is free. To, you know. Get the most bang for your proverbial buck. At least those of us who are paying for their medical school education. Which I am not. But I can double fist in empathy.
In contrast, double fisting in the world of one particularly pumpkin-obsessed medical student refers to the practice of cooking two winter squash-based dishes in one week. And then proceeding to share them with the blog world in one fell swoop.


Because the only thing better than one winter squash recipe. Is two.
So behind fist number one, we have this Italian Sausage and Fennel over Pumpkin Polenta. A dish based on a Rachael Ray recipe. I have been on a total sausage kick lately, by the way. Not really sure why, but I’m sure Freud could offer you some theories. Anyway, the saltiness of the sausage saute paired really well with the creamy and subtle pumpkin flavor of the polenta. I was in heaven and really could have eaten this every day indefinitely.

Pumpkin Polenta with Italian Sausage and Fennel
Serves 4, adapted from Rachael Ray

1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb—quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
One 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup quick-cooking or instant polenta
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the sausage. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel–lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO (1 turn of the pan) to the skillet and then the onion and fennel. Cook the vegetables over moderate heat until tender but not brown. Add the wine and return the sausage to the skillet. Cook the wine away, a minute or so.

In a large saucepan, cook the polenta as directed in the main recipe and stir in the nutmeg when you add the thyme, salt, pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese. Top the pumpkin polenta with the sausage and fennel. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve

Behind fist number two, I present you with Acorn Squash and Black Bean Calzones.

So I got the idea for these from Veganomicon’s Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas. But I decided I couldn’t deal with the concept of buying shortening and then knowingly cooking with it and ingesting it. Instead, I whipped up a batch of my favorite pizza dough, made the filling as instructed, and ended up with some calzones. They were splendid, although I would add some cheese into the mix next time. Perhaps some cheddar.

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Calzones
Serves 4, adapted from Veganomicon

1 batch of pizza dough
1 1/2 lb acorn squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 jalapeno peppers
2 tsp coriander
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 cup black beans
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place facedown on a baking sheet. Bake for around 50 minutes or until it is fork-tender. Let cool. Turn the oven up as high as it goes.

2. Heat a large skillet. Saute the onions and jalapenos in olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, peel the skin from the squash and cut it into chunks.

3. Add the coriander and minced garlic to the pan. Saute for a minute. Add the cumin, salt, and water. Add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the black beans and cook until heated through. Lastly, add the lime juice and maple syrup and stir. Turn off the heat.

4. Break your dough into four chunks. Roll out into as large a circle as possible. Put a quarter of the filling on one half of the circle. Leaving a half-inch edge. Fold the other half over and press shut, crimping the edges with your fingers if desired. Repeat for the other three dough chunks. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.

These are recipes seven and eight of my 12 Weeks of Winter Squash!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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39 Responses to 12 Weeks of Winter Squash – Italian Sausage and Fennel Over Pumpkin Polenta AND Acorn Squash and Black Bean Calzones

  1. Lea Ann says:

    ohmygosh this sounds and looks wonderful. RE: the title of this post: Say that three times as fast as you can! 🙂

  2. Yasmeen says:

    Both the dishes sound really tasty,I also love making 2-3 dishes at the same time when ever I get them 😀

  3. SnoWhite says:

    the calzones sound good to me!!

  4. monicajane says:

    oh, your food is always lovely and amazing. I’m particularly drawn to the pumpkin polenta…

    double fisting is a term all young people use regardless of where they are being educated…if they should ever grace any party scene.

    at least we used it a good 20 plus years ago and I was never a med student!

    have a great holiday!

  5. Toni says:

    Mmmm… calzones. And polenta. You just hit two of my favorite things. Sometimes I forget, though, that Italian dishes (like calzones) don’t have to have traditionally Italian ingredients. My head is now spinning with possibilities for filled pizza dough.

  6. I KNOW! we might have had like 5 more boxes! OCD we are. join our club. =D We also have like 5 boxes of brownie mix and cake mix. SERIOUSLY. oH! and a cornbread mix. we are BAKER WANNABES. to the max.

    hey, my sister went to NY last week to go do a residency interview at Columbia! She’s here in LA interviewing at USC and UC IRVINE.

    Can i have some of your PUMPKIN!? lol.

    OMG. isn’t benadryl the best! knocks me out so bad i can only take .5 of a pill. seriously! once i took it during a red eye flight and i slept almost all of the 14 hours! SCORE 1 against boredom!


  7. These look like good, hearty, and warm recipes for this cold weekend. It’s snowing outside!

  8. Kim says:

    I think there is a rule to double fist it whenever you are lucky enough to be at an open bar! I love your twelve weeks of winter squash- so much healthier than twelve weeks of cookies 😀 I really like the pumpkin polenta with sausage saute. I can imagine how comforting and flavorful it would be.

  9. SE(Denufood) says:

    these look wonderful.. i just love the way you write..assumptions, metaphors and I guess all the figures of speech the english grammar has !!!

  10. Karen says:

    Love the sausage over polenta, but I think I missed something about making the pumpkin polenta. You say something about referring to the main recipe. I guess I didn’t see it 🙂

  11. Pam says:

    Oh my goodness! That first recipe looks amazing!!! I love the idea of pumpkin polenta!

  12. Marcia says:

    Okay, definitely going to have to try the pumpkin polenta. Still have 4 cups of pumpkin in the freezer.

    You are becoming my go-to place for winter squash recipes.

  13. Elra says:

    Delicious polenta, lovely photo of the squash.

  14. I have not done acorn squash in calzones. It sounds delish. Great recipes!

  15. wow amazing pumpkin recipes Joanne it will be so cool that you will be a Dic who can really cook. Love it
    on the left hand side of my blog, theres a blog whats cooking Doc by a Cardiologist you will love it

  16. Donna-FFW says:

    Open bars one of my favorite things. I always order another before I finish.. it ensures at least another 20 minutes out.. no children:)

    Your dishes are stellar as alwyas my friend. You continue to amaze me with the nonstopness of your life:)

  17. Debinhawaii says:

    Both dishes look wonderful–I just bought a bag of polenta but have not decided what to do with it yet. This looks like a great idea.

  18. Graziana says:

    I never mixed pumpkin and polenta, sounds like a great idea!

  19. Everything looks absolutely amazing as always! Cheers! 🙂

  20. Katy ~ says:

    Two clever ideas for squash, I like the sounds of both of them. Alas, I’m the only squash lover in this house, but if offered these, I would delightfully accept a nice serving of either. Both look totally dee-lish.

  21. ola Joanne,i aint into drinks at all so a double fist to me would be 2 chilled pepsi or 2 mango tangs or on the same lines and not coa of the ime restraint but coz i love it…:-))))
    Thanx 4 the tip on sprakling sugar-i feel better now.
    U know the pumpkins we get here look different ,i havent posted the pics i took awhile ago(yeah we have one @ home right now) coz wanna post ’em with something i bake with ’em..and guess what i was supposed to bake biscotti today but will during the week yeah-am going the nutty choco way….

  22. Shannon says:

    two fabulous recipes, joanne! i’ll refrain from comment on the abundance of sausage… may or may not be feeling the same 😉 i’m intrigued by pumpkin polenta… haven’t made polenta myself, but it looks delish!

  23. girlichef says:

    Drool, drool, drool! I love squash and sausage together and I’m totally, totally starving right now…I’ll take both 😀

  24. gaga says:

    What wonderful ways to use winter squash. I espcially love the calzone, yum!

  25. Andreas says:

    That polenta looks really good.

  26. Barbara says:

    I’ve never double fisted, but I sure have thought about it. 😉
    Have been enjoying your squash recipes so much! The pumpkin polenta looks delicous! Great work!

  27. Kevin says:

    You can never have too many squash meals in one week! Both of these look great!

  28. The polenta sounds fantastic! What a delicious contrast of textures and flavors. I could definitely eat it every day. Squash and black beans are a great combo – love the little calzone pockets.

  29. OMG, pumpkin polenta and acorn squash calzone, yum! I love those ideas! Awesome!

  30. Megan says:

    Hmm – pumpkin and polenta sounds like a mighty tasty combination. Adding sausage just completes the circle, you know?

    I was at SushiSamba (inside the Venetian Hotel here in Vegas) last night and on the menu they had kabocha squash in some form or another. Too much sake for me to remember the details…..

  31. Catherine says:

    Both of these dishes look and sound fantastic! I’ll have to try this soon. I hope you have a wonderful holiday in advance, Joanne! Blessings abound the coming year! 🙂

  32. Delicious! I am especially loving the calzones.

  33. rena says:

    OMG. It’s like a food orgy. Everything looks delicious!

  34. Luigi says:

    You have excelled again, sounds delicious. I can imagine how nice Italian sausages would be with Pumpkin Polenta. Great post!

  35. Faith says:

    These are both stunning. The polenta/sausage recipe is really calling my name…it looks so hearty and WARM…perfect for a chilly day! By the way, I love that gorgeous plate you used!

  36. You, as always, crack me up! 🙂 The polenta sounds amazing! 🙂

  37. What a plethora of delightful squash meals! I could absolutely double-fist these 😉

  38. LOL! Oh how I love your provocative openers 8D. I’m actually quite delighted about the “double-fisting” since I don’t eat sausage. As for the calzones, they sound fantabulous!

  39. […] years ago…Italian Sausage and Fennel over Pumpkin Polenta, Acorn Squash and Black Bean […]

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