Spicy chicken sausage is the perfect compliment to this creamy pasta dish made with butternut squash, baby spinach, parmesan and a touch of sage. It's filling and comforting on a chilly winter night.
Since making Spaghetti with Creamy Butternut Leek Sauce a few weeks back, I am officially hooked. I love how the butternut squash feels like a decadent creamy sauce without the need for heavy cream. And with the addition of parmesan and hot sausage, the end result is savory and delicious.
I am also loving Giada's new line of organic pastas sold at Target. I'm picky with my pasta and love the taste and texture of this pasta when cooked al dente. I always go for unusual pasta shapes, here I used a shape called casarecce... love!
As part of the Target Inner Circle, I got to meet Giada in person a few weeks ago at Fun and Fit in the City. Isn't she beautiful!
|L-R, My daughter Karina, Me, Giada, My girlfriend Raquel|
She was so sweet in person, I also got an autographed cookbook and a goody bag full of her new food products sold at Target. My favorites were of course the organic pastas. I tried a few shapes, but plan on going back to Target to try the whole wheat.
A few more things: This week I teemed up with 11 other bloggers to host a HUGE HOLIDAY giveaway... Two winners, one will win an iMac Computer! A second winner will win a $500 gift card. Hey, you never know! You gotta be in it to win it... click here for a chance to win!
And most importantly: Starting today I am making a commitment to run at least 1 mile a day until New Years. You in? It's part of the 2012 Holiday Running Streak from Runner's World. The way I see it, why wait till New Years? Let's start now, with all the baking and indulging that goes on during the Holidays, this is the perfect way to find a balance. I ran a mile this morning, I'll be running again tomorrow... if you prefer to walk, that's fine too, I would love it if you joined me. It could be inside, outside, morning, lunch time, evening... whenever you can squeeze it in. Tell me you're in, it will help keep me motivated!
Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Baby Spinach and Creamy Butternut Sauce
Servings: 5 • Size: 1 1/4 cups • Old Points: 7 pts • Points+: 9
Calories: 362 • Fat: 8 g • Carb: 55 g • Fiber: 5 g • Protein: 20 g • Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 419 mg (without salt)
- 11 oz (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage
- 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp light butter
- 10 oz casarecce, or pasta of your choice
- 1/4 cup shallots, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh shaved parmesan cheese
- 4 sage leaves, sliced thin
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.
Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.
Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in parmesan cheese and sage.
Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.
Serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side if desired.
Makes about 6 cups.