I know what you are thinking. We just love our alliterations so much we will title a post anything. FALSE! Although this one IS a fun title, it actually represents the feeling you get when you eat this dish. This dish is stick-to-your-bones-good & will warm your insides up…that’s the heartiness of the squash and let’s face it any pasta dish reads comfort food as well.
- 11 oz. (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage (sounds easy, except I had a blonde moment-yes brunettes can have them too! And I accidentally bought cooked spicy sausage. Wasn’t an epic fail but doesn’t come out of the casing or crumble like this recipe entails. Plus I was stressed out I was going to burn it since it’s already cooked. So ya don’t rush at the store and make sure you actually buy the spicy, chicken or turkey, uncooked sausage. Also don’t be freaked at the thought of spicy. The dish is not spicy at all. I believe from my very important palate (haha) that it’s because of the spices that are in Italian/spicy sausage-fennel seeds, etc. so that’s why the recipe calls for sausage that would already have those flavors in it and makes you have to think even less when making this dish! Score!)
- 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced (trader Joes plug again, I wonder if they read this slash we could strike a deal with them? But anyway, they carry cheap, already diced & peeled butternut squash to save your fingers from cuts!)
- 1 tbsp. light butter
- 10 oz. casarecce, or pasta of your choice (I don’t even know what that kind is, I know I used fusilli, but legit penne works too).
- 1/4 cup shallots, minced (I made mine a half a cup vs. the ¼ because I heart shallots but to each his own).
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (Again I used the jarred minced stuff, so sue me).
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped (not gunna lie, I am lazy and didn’t chop…why should you have to? Spinach wilts down to nothing-ness anyway, why waste the time…don’t chop, whatevs).
- 2 tbsp. fresh shaved parmesan cheese (I grated my finger doing this, because not only was I feeling lazy and stupid when making this I apparently was dying to eat it that I may have gotten over zealous with my grater. Anyway I lived to tell about it all thanks to my Cinderella band-aid).
- 4 sage leaves, sliced thin (lay the 4 leaves on top of ea other, roll ‘em up and chop…it’s called something fancy like chefinade but bottom line is, its takes ½ the time than doing them individually, you’re welcome).
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (umm so I forgot this part, and I definitely noticed. Pretty bummed because I loved this dish. I would suggest doing this part when you sauté the shallots & garlic in the pan. I know it tells you that too but I didn’t have this out like a play book at the time, nerds!)
Bring a large pot of salted water (I substituted with chicken broth because I love the stuff & thinks it sneaks in flavor when you don’t even know it) to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth. Add pasta to that same boiling water (or broth) and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. (you will need this to thin out the sauce to your liking).
Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate. Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add puree butternut squash, season with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water to get the thickness you desire. Add baby spinach and stir in parmesan cheese & sage.
Happy Eating, XO