How many recipes can there possibly be for pasta dishes? It’s got to be in the thousands…tens of thousands. It never ceases to amaze me. My sister and I have probably shared hundreds, if not thousands, of pasta recipes over the years, and we continue to do so. We’ve shared recipes from our family, other families, friends, cookbooks, magazines, the internet, and the past few years we have become somewhat obsessed with cooking shows on TV. Yes, I’ll admit it…..while on my treadmill or elliptical machine, I’m watching The Barefoot Contessa, Giada, Nigella Lawson and/or others cooking up some scrumptious meals. If they’re cooking a pasta dish that looks good, I stop everything and write it down. Now these famous chefs are certainly on our radar, but we have grown to love some lesser renowned chefs whose shows you have to search for on public stations. The options are endless. My kitchen shelves and cabinets are overflowing with recipes, and most of these are for pasta. Pasta is just so versatile. Just when I think we can’t possibly find another recipe to share, another great ones comes along.
This recipe for pasta with sausage and butternut squash comes from TV cooking personality and chef, Nick Stelinno. “Who the heck is that?” you might be asking. Well, he has been cooking on public television for 18 years and has ten published cookbooks. My sister saw him make this on his show, retrieved the recipe off his website, and then tried it out on our family one Sunday (Yes, a Sunday with no gravy!). Everyone loved it (I wasn’t there), and so it was passed on to me as a “must try.” I did indeed give it a try, even though the ingredients did not seem to go well to me, but if my sister says it’s fantastic, then chances are that I will too. Everyone loved it and it’s now in the “must make again” pile. So even if you’re not a big fan of sausage, which I am not, the other flavors in this dish meld together so well that you’ll welcome the use of it in this recipe.
The recipe calls for penne rigate or rigatoni. As you will see in my pictures, I used something different. I had a pound of sweet potato pappardelle, which my sister had given me. We share unique pastas too!! It was fantastic, but the penne or rigatoni is spectacular as well. I also did not use hot sausage, as the recipe suggests. If you like spicy, we all agreed that the combination of hot from the meat and sweet from the squash, would be amazing. However, it was wonderful with the sweet sausage as well. Enjoy!
RECIPE: serves 6 to 8 ( as a first course)
3 TBSP olive oil
1 pound Italian hot sausage (I used sweet)
1 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
1 TBSP chopped basil
! TBSP chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional…I did add this to mine)
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces ( I cheat and buy it already cut up).
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 TBSP salt
1 pound pasta, penne rigate or rigatoni
6 TBSP Parmesan cheese
2 TBSp softened butter
1. Pour 1 TBSP of olive into a large, heavy skillet (12 inches), and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Take the sausage out of the casing and add it to the hot oil. Cook for about 3 minutes until it browns. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break the sausage up into small, bite-size pieces while it’s browning.
2. Turn off the heat. Using a slotted spoon, place the sausage in a bowl; cover and set aside. Keep about 1 TBSP of the oil and fat left in the pan.
3. Add the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil to the pan, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, basil and sage, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring well, until the onion and garlic start to to brown. You can add the red pepper flakes here if you like.
4. Add the reserved sausage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well to dislodge the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
5. Add the butternut squash and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well.
6. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
7. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it well in a colander. Pour the pasta back into the pot, add the sauce, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly . Remove the pan from the heat, add the parmesan cheese and butter and serve.