Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sausage and Kale

Written by Becky

In keeping in step with our seasonally fresh posts on Wednesdays, I found the most delicious pasta recipe on on of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks.  Butternut squash, kale, and sausage together make for a seasonally fresh and full-flavored dish!  I added sausage to the original recipe to kick it up a bit.

As the holidays get nearer our schedule is filled with lots of fun things but also shortens the time I have to cook.  This is a pretty quick and simple one-dish meal that I fell in love with.  These types of meals are perfect during the holidays when the focus is really getting to spend time with those around you!  I’ve come up with a 12 days of Christmas countdown of ideas to enjoy the holidays.  Check out the side bar of the blog for the latest idea or get the countdown on your twitter or facebook feed by following us on twitter & facebook. Each day will have an idea of how to share the holidays with your family. Also, a local tip will be given to each day- like today’s to stop by Cummings Chocolates after a bundled walk around Liberty Park.  Check out today’s 12 days of Christmas idea.
And if that’s not enough… I also have a pinterest board that includes all kinds of ideas to make this holiday more meaningful. To look at our pinboard go to Unconventional Christmas on Pinterest.
The original recipe from 101 Cookbooks was vegetarian.  I made a few minor adjustments. I added sausage but only used two links to keep the dish healthy.  I also used an orecchiette pasta (pictured above) mainly because I like the look of it and it kind of reminded me of the shells and cheese I grew up on so I wanted to experiment with it. Also, I used olive tapenade instead of olives and just dotted the top of the dish with the spread.  The tapenade is a unique addition to any pasta and adds a great salty finish.

Butternut Squash, Kale and Sausage Baked Pasta

Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • zest of one large lemon
  • 8 ounces dried orecchiette pasta (or penne or something comparable in size)
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and sliced into quarter sized pieces
  • 3 handfuls kale, chard, and/or spinach, loosely chopped
  • 2 casings of hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and torn into pieces (or or olive tapenade) *optional
  • scant 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle. Butter or oil an 8x12-inch baking dish, or two smaller gratin dishes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and cook the pasta until al dente. 2-3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking, stir in the butternut squash and cook until pasta is done. Quickly drain. Now run cold water over the pasta and squash (just enough to stop it from cooking). Shake off any extra water and set aside.
  3. While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil, whisk together the yogurt, milk, eggs, garlic, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl - set aside until the pasta is boiled.
  4. In a frying pan, cook the sausage adding the kale about half way through. Saute the kale with the sausage until its slightly wilted. Remove from heat and mix in with the pasta and squash.
  5. Then. when ready, add the pasta-squash-kale-sausage mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir in half of the almonds. Scoop everything into the prepared baking dish(es), sprinkle with olives and feta, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve sprinkled with remaining almonds.

Notes

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

http://www.thevintagemixer.com/2011/12/baked-pasta-with-butternut-squash-sausage-and-kale/

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