Butternut Squash Pasta with Spinach

I love how flexible butternut squash is! In general, it tends to add a sweetness to the dishes it is added to, and in this dish, it pairs very well with the savory of the sausage. However, this sauce is excellent without the sausage too. If you’re kids are reluctant to eat butternut squash, give this recipe a try and let me know how it went!

Butternut Squash Pasta with Spinach and Sausage

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I try to find butternut squash that is as close to a long cylinder (as opposed to a long piece and a bulbous end) to make it easier to peel and dice. Also, a good peeler works well for peeling these! And you want to make the pieces as uniformly as you can, to ensure consistent cooking times.

To make the butternut squash puree, I steam the squash using a steamer insert in a pasta pot. The smaller the pieces the faster they will cook; it usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get soft.

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Once the squash is soft, you can transfer it to a blender or a food processor BE CAREFUL! It’s totally okay to let the squash cool down a bit before putting the lid on and pulsing.

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Once the squash is pureed, you can start the pasta as per the package directions. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, brown the sausage (if using) and set aside.

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In the same pan, add the butter, onion and garlic; cook for 5-6 minutes.

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Stir the pureed squash into the pan, and add sausage. You can add some reserved pasta water to thin out the puree as needed, I add by large spoonfuls.

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Then add spinach and stir well

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Finally toss sauce with pasta

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Top wth sage and shaved parmesan and serve

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Butternut Squash Pasta with Spinach and  sausage

Ingredients

1/2 pound bulk spicy chicken Italian sausage (about 2 links)

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 Tablespoon butter

10 ounces of a pasta of your choice (I recommend shells)

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

2 sage leaves, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons shaved parmesan cheese

directions

  • In a large pot with a steamer insert and enough water to almost touch the insert, place squash in steamer insert and bring to a boil; steam squash until it’s soft, about 30 minutes. Remove squash and place in a blender, carefully blend until smooth.
  • in same pot, add water to prepare pasta as per package directions. Reserve about 1-2 cups of water.
  • meanwhile, brown sausage in a large deep skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. When cooked, remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • reduce heat to medium low, add butter. As butter melts, add onion and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Add pureed squash. Add some of the reserved water is the sauce is too thick. Add sausage and baby spinach, stir to combine. Toss with pasta. Top with sage and parmesan cheese.

Serves 5

Calories 430 * Fat 8g * Carbohydrates 72g (fiber 7g * sugar 7g) * Protein 23g

**To make this vegetarian, omit the sausage.

Calories 366 * Fat 5g * Carbohydrates 72g (fiber 7g * sugar 7g) * Protein 13g

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