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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baked Penne with Butternut Squash and Turkey Sausage

Here's a recipe to use the tomato sauce that I posted in my previous blog post dated October 27. This is a tasty fall pasta dish. It uses butternut squash, a beautiful seasonal ingredient. Adding the squash up's the nutrition and makes the pasta very filling with a relatively small portion of sausage. And this is quite filling - it's a grand meal served with a mixed green salad.

The cinnamon is an interesting addition. It evokes Greek pastitsio more than Italian. Greek pastitsio and Italian pasticcio are similar and a bit more complicated than this recipe since they use a bechamel sauce. Both are delicious but this is a lot easier.

Baked Penne with Butternut Squash and Turkey Sausage
(serves 8)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ cup Dry White Wine
¾ pound Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, without casings
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 pound Butternut Squash, ¾" dice, about 4 cups
2 cups Tomato Sauce

1 cup Vegetable Broth
⅓ cup Heavy Cream
Salt And Black Pepper
1 pound Penne Pasta
3 ounces Soft Mild Goat Cheese (Such As Montrachet), crumbled
3 ounces Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella

¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450℉. Coat a 13"x9"x2" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until golden. Stir in the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated and the onion is browned, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up into chunks with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Add the cinnamon.

3. Add the squash, tomato sauce, broth, and cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid boils. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 15 minutes. There should be plenty of liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. While the squash is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook penne according to package directions until al dente. Drain well.

5. Combine goat cheese and mozzarella in a medium bowl.

6. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Add ½ of the cheese and mix well. Spread the pasta in the prepared baking dish, smoothing out the top. Top with the remaining cheese mixture and the Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake until the cheese melts and bubbles, about 15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from The Essential Best Foods Cookbook by Dana Jacobi, Rodale, 2008.