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Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sausage

(Serves 4 - 6)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Italian sweet or spicy sausages, removed from casings
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 large sage leaves, minced
12 ounces farfalle, penne, or similar small shaped pasta
3 cups (about 1 pound) peeled and diced butternut squash
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic; sauté for 1 minute.  Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet. 
Break the meat up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
Sauté the sausage meat for about 5 minutes or until it is not longer pink.
Add the red pepper flakes and stir in the minced sage.

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for the time indicated on the package.
Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water; set aside.

Add the diced squash to the sausage in the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook the squash until it is soft, about 5 minutes.  As the squash cooks, mash some of it with a wooden spoon so that it breaks down a little.

Stir a ladleful of the reserved pasta water into the sauce.  Add the drained pasta to the skillet and gently stir to combine.  Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan and chopped parsley to the mixture and gently toss again.  Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl.  Serve immediately, passing more cheese at the table.
Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sausage
This pasta recipe combines the flavors of butternut squash, Italian sausage, and sage into a simple-to-make but delicious weeknight dinner.  As the squash cooks down it forms the sauce; so it is not an overly saucy dish.  You can purchase frozen cubed squash if you wish to avoid the work of peeling and cutting a fresh squash.  Just allow the frozen cubes to thaw a little before adding them to the skillet.  I have also made this dish with ground turkey instead of sausage and it is equally delicious.
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If you don't have a set of plain white dishes, put this at the top of your must-have entertaining essentials.  White dishes look sensational on the table by themselves or you can completely change their appearance on the table by pairing them with different accent plates, linens, and accessories.  In the summer, create a bright tabletop by combing your white dishes with blue and white salad plates and apple green table linens.  In the fall, pair your white dishes with russet napkins and an autumn centerpiece. In winter, make them more elegant with silver and gold accessories, or make them more whimsical by adding holiday stemware and napkins.
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