A few weeks ago, I looked up from a stressful email I was composing to see Peter grinning over a massive plate of fragrant pasta.
“Happy Birthday,” he said. “Eat.”
Tossed among the hearty spaghetti strands were hunks of sweet roasted butternut squash, toasted pine nuts, sauteed sausage, and fresh-plucked leaves of sage. Ravenous, I devoured it all.
Dear reader, that is the way to a Jessie’s heart.
That same day, a heavy package arrived on our doorstep from Courtney. As I’ve written before, Courtney is my stranded-in-the-wilderness companion of choice due to her amazing ability to grow anything, then turn around and create an oven out of a tin can and some old string before cooking a 12-course dinner to rival the fanciest French restaurant. You see my excitement RE: giant package from awesome sister.
The contents did not disappoint. Not only did it contain homegrown butternut squash and sweet potatoes, it also had a jar of homemade tomato juice and a bag of cornmeal she made herself. Like literally, she grew the corn and ground the kernels by hand to make cornmeal.
As soon as I pulled out the butternut squash, I knew I would make the butternut squash pasta dish again. Preferably right away. After reading this month’s Recipe Redux theme, I knew the time had arrived.
In the US, November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your own children. Please share one of your favorite food memories and the healthier “redo” of the recipe.
During the busy fall season, this homegrown butternut squash pasta has been a tie keeping everything together. Even through Courtney and I live almost 3000 miles apart, I can still enjoy the food she grew.
Whole grain pasta and butternut squash provide fiber, plus a hit of vitamin A from the squash, while olive oil provides heart healthy monounsaturated fat(ty acids) (or MUFAs, which I always thought was way too much fun to say — MUFA MUFA MUFA). Even the fresh sage is packed with antioxidants.
As I’ve written before, sausage is a very sometimes food, so feel free to substitute your own lean protein. I want to try this dish with cannellini beans next. Round out this dish with a fresh salad or blanched green beans for a complete meal. Even better? Get someone to make it for you.
Peter, where are you?
Homegrown Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound chicken sausage, sliced
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 8 oz. whole grain spaghetti
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, torn into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange butternut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and bake for 45 minutes, or until squash is soft but still holds its shape. Remove from oven and set aside.
While squash bakes, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. Remove from pan with slotted spoon onto plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
In a small saute pan over low heat, add pine nuts. Cook, tossing frequently, until nuts are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain, then toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add squash, sausage, and pine nuts and combine gently. Divide onto four plates, top with fresh sage, and serve immediately.
P.S. Check out other awesome Recipe Redux posts below!
P.P.S. Looking for more healthy comfort foods? Here you go!