Monday, March 3, 2014

Sausage, Butternut and Spinach Pasta

We loved this pasta. It was full of flavor and texture and yes, you can make a delicious sauce from winter squash! Which is awesome because we still have squash leftover from the fall farm shares and got a few in the beginning of the winter shares as well. I'd pureed a bunch and put it in the freezer,but still had some others whole. Just a little sage brings a lot of extra flavor. Spinach bulks up this dish already brimming with good for you stuff like chicken sausage and squash. I thought I would like it, one of those eh, try it once kind of recipes. But I really enjoyed. More surprising, however, was how much Dave liked it. So much that I made it again a shortly after we polished off the leftovers. If you enjoy pasta but want an alternative to tomato based or heavy cheese sauces, this could be your new favorite.

When I spotted this recipe on Pinterest from Gina at Skinny Taste, I was definitely intrigued by the squash sauce, figuring it would be light and unique. Loads of extra flavor is added from a great combination of ingredients, including a kicked up chicken sausage with chipotle and Monterrey jack cheese (although you can use any variety you like). Because my links wouldn't easily come out of their casings, I cooked up the sausage according to the package directions and sliced them into medallions rather than crumbling and browning. I also forgot to chop my spinach but since it was baby spinach it wilted up into manageable pieces. I thrilled to have a new way to serve pasta and butternut squash.

Sausage, Butternut and Spinach Pasta

1 pound butternut squash
12 ounces gemelli or other small pasta
12 ounces chicken sausage
1 Tablespoon butter (not pictured)
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups baby spinach
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
4 sage leaves, finely sliced

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Peel and remove seeds from butternut squash, then dice to about 1 inch pieces. Place in boiling water and cook until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes. 

While squash cooks, in a large skillet, cook sausage according to package instructions. Once cooked, remove from skillet and slice into medallions. Set aside.

Remove squash from water with a slotted spoon and place in a blender. While water continues to boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Blend squash until smooth then set aside.

Add butter to same skillet sausage was cooked in and saute onions and garlic until softened.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Add pureed squash to skillet and reserved water to desired consistency (you may not use the full cup). Stir to combine, then season with salt and pepper.

Add spinach, Parmesan cheese and sliced sage. Stir to combine, then add pasta and sliced sausage toss to coat.

Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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