You know how sometimes you make a dish that tastes really good but it’s just not exactly….appetizing looking? This dish is kind of like that. It’s just plain ugly. And my fancy new camera didn’t do much to make it look better. But who really cares when it tastes great?
I started with squash. Did you know that I’d never really had squash until my thirties? I think the first time I had it was at the beginning of the roasted butternut ravioli/butternut soup boom of 2005. No sweet potatoes either. I just never had them in a way that was appealing. To me, sweet potatoes equaled mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. Bleah. Now I can’t get enough of ‘em.
You need to begin with roasting the squash. I used one acorn and one carnivale, but you could use any squash you want. Cut the squash into pieces, roughly the same size so they cook evenly. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the squash in a 375* oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Peel the pieces, then cut into uniform chunks. I made them about 1″ but they could’ve been a bit smaller.
On to the rest. You’ll need a short, sturdy pasta of some sort (I had rigatoni on hand), chicken or vegetable stock, some sausage, Parmesan cheese and sage.
This is a totally simple sauce that you can adapt to any ingredients. Brown the meat, add aromatics, a little flour if you want a thickener, add liquid and then add seasonings. Easy! Roasting the squash and boiling the water for the noodles was the most time-consuming part.
Speaking of noodles, you were boiling pasta during that time, right? Good. Toss them in with the sauce and stir so that they’re coated. Let them cook a few minutes so they absorb some of the sauce. Believe me, it’s a good trick.
Top with Parmesan and chow down!
It ain’t pretty, but it sure tasted good.
Pasta with Sausage and Roasted Winter Squash
2 acorn or other small winter squash, or 1 butternut squash
1 shallot, chopped
1 lb Italian sausage
2-3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 lb short, sturdy pasta–such as rigatoni
2 cups fresh spinach or chard leaves
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
salt, pepper, olive oil
Preheat oven to 375*.
Cut squash in half, discard seeds. Cut into pieces, roughly the same size to ensure even cooking. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Peel the squash and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Boil water and prepare the pasta according to package directions.
Remove the casings from the sausage. Brown the sausage in a large saute pan, then add shallot and cook until soft. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp flour and stir through. Let the flour cook for a couple of minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir until the sauce has thickened. Add the squash and sage to the sauce and taste for seasoning.
Add the cooked pasta to the saucepan and let cook for a few minutes so it absorbs some of the sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan.