Pasta With Butternut Sauce, Spicy Sausage, and Baby Spinach

I know all has been quiet for a while, but I’d like to think of that as the calm before the proverbial storm, because this recipe is a TORNADO of flavor. (Bad puns. I’m sorry.) Anyway, I found this recipe on my favorite cooking site a while back, SkinnyTaste, and finally have decided to share with you. You’re welcome in advance.

It is my FAVORITE new recipe and since trying the first time, we’ve had it twice. It’s been added to the official Hunny Line Up and is definitely earning its keep. It is as warm and filling and yummy as it looks!

Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Spicy Sausage, and Baby Spinach

The Stuff:

  • 11 oz (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 10 oz pasta of your choice
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • 4 sage leaves, sliced thin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Process:

 

  • Let me start by saying that my first butternut squash encounter was this Thanksgiving when I made an incredible Spicy Ginger Butternut Squash Soup from scratch, which my uncle stupidly thought was a thick gravy and coated his turkey with it. (That’s another story for another time.) Anyway, it was then that I realized how difficult butternut squash can be to work with. Peeling and chopping these mammoth bad boys is no easy task, so brace yourself. If you don’t feel like “bracing,” I saw that Publix has peeled, pre-cubed butternut squash in their produce section, so you could always take the easy way. I, however, did not. 
  • After peeling and cubing your squash, add it to a large pot of boiling salted water. (I go heavy on the salt for squash because sometimes I feel, and I know I may be in the minority here, that butternut squash can be a little bland.) Allow it to cook until soft and remove. Blend it in a food processor or blender until its smooth. This will the base of the sauce. (Still creamy but LOADS healthier than a cream-based sauce.)
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water you cooked your squash in and cook per package directions. (When you drain it, make sure to save a heaping ladle full of the water.) While your pasta is boiling, get a deep skillet ready for the sausage. Saute sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Break it up as you go. When complete, set it aside.
  • Use the same saute pan, and melt your butter. Add shallots and garlic, sauteing until soft. (Should take about 5 minutes.) Add in your pureed squash mixture with some salt and pepper to taste. Remember that ladle of water you were saving? Toss that in too. It will thin out your sauce a little. Finally, you add the spinach, Parmesan cheese, and sage. (Sage is the perfect spice to flavor this dish up and give it that warm, snuggly, couch-food quality. I used a little bit more than she advised.)
  • Finally, you can add in your sausage and pasta and stir, while still on low-medium heat, until everything is evenly coated. Top each individual serving with some lovely shaved Parm, and tadaaaaa! You have yourself a delicious meal!

 

We loved this! So so so much! It’s very filling, so there were most definitely left overs, which leads me to my next point: It reheats very well! I would recommend, however, that you add in a little water or broth upon reheating so it doesn’t dry out. Enjoy!

 

 

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