Butternut Squash & Sausage Rigatoni

by Jennifer Lovett
(Redondo Beach, CA USA)

Winter always conjures up visions of gloomy, cold weather outside, while being warmed by the fire and cooking something hearty and satisfying in the kitchen for loved ones and myself to enjoy casually.

This dish is not an old family favorite, unfortunately, but a recipe that started as a winter fantasy. It was born in my mind and heart over the course of the fall months. I finally decided to try it and found it was even better in reality than in my fantasy. Surprise, surprise!

This is intended for all you Sunset Magazine fans, who love outdoor winter sports and a nice Cabernet. Stoke up the fire after a long day on the slopes and cook up a batch of winter in a pot, Italian style. Mangia!

  • 1.) Brown 1 lb of Hot Italian Sausage in 1 tbsp of oilve oil & Remove from skillet
  • 2.) Saute 1 diced Red Onion, 1 Bell Pepper and 3 cloves minced Garlic (add salt & pepper to taste here). Add a dash or two of Balsamic Vinegar to deglaze the pan.
  • 3.) Peel & cut a large sized Butternut Squash into 2" cubes, toss in olive oil, Salt and Pepper and roast on a sheet pan at 375 for 45 minutes. Half way through the cooking time toss squash.
  • 4.) Using a food processor, puree half of the roasted squash, 1 tbsp of brown sugar and about 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream. A pinch of salt and pepper here, too!
  • 5.) Cook 1 lb of Rigatoni pasta to al dente and drain (keep 1 cup of cooking water, just in case).
  • 6.) Combine, cooked sausage, onions and peppers, and the remaining half of roasted butternut squash and toss in the pureed mixture. Add the cooking water from the pasta if necessary to loosen the sauce.
  • 7.) Finish with 1 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley.

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