Penne Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans Recipe

May 24, 2012 2 Comments

Penne Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans Recipe

“Good As It Gets”

 By that I mean when you take that first bite you are going to say, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”

I love food and there are not many recipes that I prepare that I don’t like but every once in a while you come up with one that you can’t believe you made.  It’s just that good and I rate this recipe as one of those.

It’s a simple recipe but cannot be categorized as a “Quick & Easy” recipe because it takes time to roast the squash. It becomes a weekday meal if you roast the squash the night before and that’s exactly what my wife Meg did. This works especially well if you are roasting something anyway, like a chicken or potatoes.

You can do the same with the pecans that need to bake for a few minutes. Make them the night before and store them in an airtight container.

Sage Butter

When I saw this recipe called for 20 whole leaves of sage I thought it was a typo. That’s a lot of sage but with it you make a sage butter that is in my opinion what makes this recipe so good.  And in the process you crisp the sage leaves.

Let me tell you, crisp sage leave could be packaged and sold as a gourmet treat. Wow! What flavor. You could use just this sage butter as a pasta sauce or even on vegetables.  I wonder if anyone has come up with chocolate covered sage leaves? If not, they should.

Roasted Squash

Pecans

Sage Butter

Penne Pasta with Roasted Squash Sausage Sage Butter

Penne Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds butternut squash

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper - to taste Grated nutmeg, fresh is best - to taste

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

20 whole sage leaves

½ cup pecans, chopped coarsely

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-pound sweet Italian sausage

1 pound penne pasta (or substitute any fusilli or other curly pasta)

¼ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese, plus extra for the table

How To Prepare At Home

Prepare the Squash & Pecans

Whether the night before or night of, start by preheating your oven to 400°F. While the oven is heating, peel and cut the squash into 1-inch diced cubes. Toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange them to a single layer.

Season them with a little salt & pepper, to taste, nutmeg and bake for 30 minutes until they are tender. Top with chopped sage, toss and reserve.

While the squash is baking, arrange the pecans on a pie plate into a single layer and bake for about 4 minutes until toasted. When done, reserve for later.

Get the Water Boiling

Heat a large stock (soup, pasta) pot of water seasoned with a little salt until boiling. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. If you new to cooking and are unfamiliar with this term, al dente, it's important you learn it. You are going to see it over and over in most pasta and risotto recipes.

Prepare the Sage Butter & Sausage

While the pasta is cooking, preheat a large fry (sauté, skillet) pan and add the butter until it melts. Don't let it burn so adjust your heat appropriately. Add the sage leaves and cook over medium heat, turning once until the leaves are crisp. This should take just a couple of minutes so keep your eye on them.

Transfer the leaves to a plate and pour the sage butter into a bowl. Reserve the sage leaves and butter for assembling the dish. I guess you could do all this the night before but I'm not sure how the leaves will hold up or if you can avoid snacking on them all night so best to prepare this the night of.

In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing into the pan. With a wooden spoon, break up the sausage into pieces and cook until well browned and no pink is showing. This should take about 7 minutes.

Putting It All Together

When the pasta is perfect, remove a cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the rest of the pasta and return it to the pot.

Over moderate heat, add the sausage and reserved melted sage butter. Gradually stir in the reserved pasta water and then fold in the reserved roasted butternut squash cubes.

Add the reserved pecans and ¼ cup Asiago cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serving

If you are serving family style, transfer everything to a large serving bowl, top with the crisp sage leaves and serve with some extra Asiago cheese.

If you are plating and serving, portion out the pasta into warm bowls (plates), top with a couple of sage leaves and serve. Be sure there is a little extra Asiago cheese on the table.

Last modified on Wed 16 July 2014 8:44 am

Comments (2)

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  1. Jenni says:

    I can imagine how good this is! Sounds like the perfect dish for fall, but I would absolutely make it now, too

    Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall is what I say for this one! – RG

  2. Camille says:

    Made this tonight. Came out really nicely, and even with roasting the squash, still took only about 1 hour start to finish. I just roasted slices of the squash then took the skins off with a paring knife. Will definitely make again! Personal preference, but I think the skin is easier to get off and you waste less of the squash if you remove it after cooking.

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