Saturday, March 22, 2014

Farfalle with Butternut Squash, Sage & Sausage

Although butternut, onions and sage are more autumnally associated than most flavor combinations, this is one of my favorite pasta dishes to make whenever there's a chill on the breeze, and this Smarch weather still certainly allows for plenty of roasted butternut squash.  I love farfalle for this dish, as each piece makes a solid and sturdy shelf on which the squash and other goodies naturally collect. Plus, seeing all those the bow-tie shapes fanned out on the plate is pleasing to the eye, or at least my eye! No matter what pasta shape you use though, it'll be an incredibly tasty and filling dinner.

Farfalle with Butternut Squash, Sage & Sausage
Makes 4-6 servings

*1 medium butternut squash
*1 lb farfalle pasta (preferably De Cecco)
*2-3 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
*1 small onion, diced 
*4 cloves garlic
*12-15 fresh sage leaves
*3 tablespoons toasted pepitas
*1/4 cup freshly grated Parm-Reg plus extra for dusting
*1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 400 and cut the squash in half. Scoop out the guts and brush the flesh with olive oil and season with S&P. Place the squash flesh-side down on a baking sheet and pop in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, towards the end of the roasting time, put on a large pot of water to boil and salt it well. Saute the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Set aside when cooked. Add a tablespoon of butter drizzled with some evoo and saute the onion until nice and soft, seasoning as you go. Add the garlic in and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, then set the onion and garlic mixture aside with the sausage. Turn up the heat and add a little more evoo if necessary to fry the sage leaves. Once they are crisp, set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Boil the farafelle until al dente. While the pasta is cooking take the squash out and scoop the soft innards into a bowl and mash with the Parm-Reg. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the pasta water, and then after quickly wiping out the pasta pot, throw in the pasta, squash mash and sausage/onion/garlic mix and combine everything well, seasoning to taste. If it seems a little dry, wet it with some of the reserved pasta water. Crumble the sage, reserving a leaf or two for final garnish, and mix it in along with the toasted pepitas. Serve with an extra dusting of Parm and some more sage crumbles. 

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