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Squash & Sausage Orecchiette

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Last fall, I made a butternut squash soup, and in the middle of the cooking process, I wondered if it would make a good pasta sauce (this happens to me at least a few times a day). I decided to venture down that dark path (recipe link), and with a few minor changes and faithful adherence to pasta best-practices, what emerged was a truly delicious fall pasta that I know you'll enjoy.

Savory spices work best with autumn squash, and the pasta I recommend is orecchiette: the little pasta that can mop up an outsized amount of sauce. Top with fresh parmigiano reggiano and enjoy a hearty bowl of fall pasta. Just don't call it pumpkin spice pasta. That would make me very upset.


YIELD

4 servings


EQUIPMENT

Blender (stand or hand)


INGREDIENTS

  • medium squash (kabocha or butternut), peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1" cubes

  • 1 Shallot, diced

  • 3 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed

  • Olive Oil

  • Curry Powder, dash

  • ½ tsp, Nutmeg

  • ½ tsp, Sage (dried)

  • ½ tsp, Salt/Pepper

  • 32 oz. Chicken Stock

  • ½ lb. (or 3 links) Sweet Italian Sausage, sliced or ground

  • ½ cup Yellow Onion

  • ½ cup White Wine (I recommend Pinot Grigio)

  • Orecchiette (or pasta of your preference)

  • Parmigiano Reggiano

  • Salt/Pepper


RECIPE

THE SAUCE

1---Pour about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the diced shallots and smashed garlic cloves and stir until fragrant (about 2 minutes).


2---Add the squash cubes and stir with a wooden spoon to coat with the olive oil as well as to move the aromatics off the bottom of the pan. Add the curry powder, nutmeg, dried sage leaves, paprika, and salt & pepper. Continue to stir to incorporate evenly.


3---Pour in enough chicken stock to submerge the squash and bring the broth to a boil. You most likely won’t need all 32oz of the stock. Once boiling, cover the pan and lower the heat to a moderate simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash cubes are softened throughout.


4---Once the squash is soft, remove the pan from the heat, and blend everything (with either a hand blender directly in the pan, or pour into a blender and pulse) until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.


THE PASTA

1---Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the sweet Italian sausage until nearly cooked throughout. Remove sausage from the pan, reserving the rendered fat.


2---Lower the heat to medium, add the yellow onion to the sausage fat and stir occasionally to pick up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the onion until soft (about 5-7 minutes).


3---Increase the heat to medium-high. Pour in about a ½ cup of white wine, and with a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the sauté pan to release the brown bits. Reduce the wine by 2/3rds. Lower the heat to medium-low. Return the sausage chunks, ladle in as much squash sauce as will coat the pasta. Heat the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.


4---Salt the boiling water. Then, add the dry orecchiette. Cook the orecchiette until al dente. Using a spider strainer, remove from the water and add directly to the sauce. Ladle a bit of the pasta water to the sauce if it’s too thick.


5---Toss the pasta and sauce together vigorously for about 2 minutes, until all the pasta is evenly incorporated with the sauce. Ladle onto a warm plate and serve with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano.

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