A melon baller is a perfect tool for scooping out the insides of the apples. Don’t have one? Try using a teaspoon or other small spoon, instead. We recommend that you use real maple syrup — it’s worth the extra expense, not to mention there will be leftovers for next time. If you don’t eat pork, swap in chicken or turkey sausage.
4 Golden Delicious apples
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbsp maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
PANTRY STAPLES: Extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Brush a shallow baking dish with olive oil.
2. Cut the apples in half lengthwise and then cut a small slice off of the rounded side of the apple halves so they lay flat. Scoop out the tough centers using a melon baller, creating a one-and-a-half to two-inch diameter hole. Arrange apples, hole-side up, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. Mix the sausage, maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl with your hands until combined. Divide sausage mixture among the apples, pressing gently to fill the holes. Drizzle the tops with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the sausage is fully cooked and the apples are soft. Serve with more maple syrup on the side for drizzling.
Note: Want to do a little more? Mix one tablespoon of chopped parsley into the sausage mixture. Serve it with a leafy green side salad and crusty bread.