Butternut Squash Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale


Some of the best flavors of fall – frost-sweetened kale, hearty squash, spicy Italian sausage – come together in this pasta dish, which could be made with rice/quinoa, if you prefer. Recipe adapted from A Teaspoon of Happiness.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped to 1-inch chunks
1 pound pasta of choice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 kale clusters, stems removed and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 sweet red pepper, cored and diced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried sage
1 pound Italian sausage
2 Tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese
Sea salt & pepper, to taste

Boil squash chunks until fork tender in ample water and then remove from water with a slotted spoon – place in food processor to puree. In the same stockpot water, cook the pasta according to directions and your taste. Reserve 1 cup of the boiling liquid to use for the sauce later on.

In a large skillet, brown Italian sausage in 1 Tbsp olive oil and then remove from pan onto a plate to cool. In the same skillet, add the second Tbsp olive oil and then cook the garlic, red onion, fresh sweet red pepper, and crushed red pepper until soft and fragrant. Add roughly chopped kale, stirring frequently to evenly wilt. Now add the pureed butternut & sage and 1/4 cup of the reserved water (at a time), until the sauce reaches the consistency you like. Stir in the cheese and season with salt & pepper to your taste. In a large bowl, combine the butternut sauce, Italian sausage, and cooked pasta – toss until evenly mixed and serve warm.