Squassage Pasta (Rotini with Sausage and Winter Squash)

Can you say "Squaussage?"

Pasta with Squash, Sausage, and Winter Greens
Pasta with Squash, Sausage, and Winter Greens

Winter Garden Pasta

This is a quick, healthy, hearty recipe that uses fresh winter ingredients.
It's also a creative way to use up leftover cooked squash.
Serves 2-4 adults.

Ingredients:

  • about 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 2 c. dry Pasta (rotini, macaroni, or gnocchi)
  • 1-2 c. cooked winter squash (Hubbard, acorn, pumpkin, or butternut, pureed or cubed)
  • Winter greens* (kale, mustard greens, spinach) - 2-3 cups fresh, or 1 cup frozen
  • 1/2 head Garlic (5 big cloves)
  • Olive oil (2 dashes)

Spices:

  • Fennel - 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper (red and/or black) - to taste
  • Salt - to taste
  • (*Lemon: 1/4 tsp zest and a squeeze of lemon juice - as needed to perk up bland/bitter greens.)

Garnish:

  • Parmesan cheese
  • (Chopped nuts: pine nuts, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
  • (Fresh herbs)

Recipe Directions:

This is a very quick recipe if you are familiar with the ingredients.

Put the sausages under the broiler for about 15 minutes. Turn them when they start to sizzle.

Boil water for pasta, with a little salt & oil. Add pasta, stir, cover, and turn heat down. Cook for 10 minutes (or follow pasta directions).

Heat a dash of olive oil on medium in a large frying pan. Crush and coarsely chop the garlic. Add it to the frying pan, turn heat down, and cover.

Coarsely chop the greens.

When the garlic is just browned, add the sausage drippings to the garlic pan. (If the sausage is not done, it can go in the frying pan too to keep cooking). Add the pureed squash and spices. (Chopped sausage or nuts can be added now as well.) Stir, turn heat to low, and simmer.

The pasta should be nearly done. Add the chopped greens to the pasta pot to steam for the last few minutes.

When the greens are tender but still bright, drain them and the pasta.

Toss together pasta, greens, and sauce.  

Serve pasta and sausage with shredded parmesan cheese, garnish with chopped nuts or fresh herbs.

This makes a quick dinner or hearty lunch - it takes about 20-30 minutes start to finish.

Vegetarian Version

 If you're looking for a low-cholesterol, or meat-free meal:

- Skip the sausage

- Substitute more olive oil for the sausage drippings

- Get that good 'sausage' flavor from the spices themselves: fennel, red pepper, onion, & other Italian seasonings.  For extra savor, try Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, extra salt and lemon, or a little soup stock.

- Definitely include the chopped nuts/pine nuts.  Add them earlier, with the garlic.

- Serve with vegetarian 'sausage,' or garnish with extra nuts, if desired.

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