Photos by Rich Smith
Pasta Shells with Sausage
and Butternut Squash
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Dr. Joel Ledbetter
- 3 Tbsp. 100% pure olive oil, divided
- 1 Ib. Italian hot sausage
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup white wine (can sub chicken stock)
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (to save time, purchase pre-chopped butternut squash)
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- 1 Ib. pasta: shells, penne, or orecchiette
- 6 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. softened butter
Pour 1 Tbsp. of olive oil into a large, 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Take sausage out of the casing and add it to the hot oil. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break sausage up into small, bite-size pieces and cook until it browns. Turn off heat. Using a slotted spoon, place sausage in a bowl; cover and set aside. Keep about 1 Tbsp. of the oil and fat left in the pan and discard the rest.
Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to the pan and cook onion, garlic, basil, and sage over low-medium heat, stirring well, until onion and garlic soften. (If you like it really spicy, add the optional red pepper flakes.) Add reserved sausage and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring well. Add wine (or chicken stock) and deglaze the pan. Add diced butternut squash and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add 2 1/2 cups chicken stock a ladle at a time, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. You may not need all the chicken stock.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add
2 Tbsp. of salt. When the water reaches
a rolling boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions, being careful not to overcook the pasta. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sausage and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat, add Parmesan cheese and softened butter, and serve. Top with finely cut basil if desired.