I love this pasta dish! The roasted butternut squash get’s a little sweet but the creamy, savory goat cheese is a great balance. Then you have the crunch of the walnuts and some heat from the spicy sausage! See what I mean, this pasta has it all!
But I have to give credit where it’s due. The inspo came from Giada De Laurentiis, but her version doesn’t have sausage, sage or spinach. Without the protein, I felt like the dish was great to serve as a side item. But I like it so much I really wanted to make it the star of dinner. I know sausage goes great with butternut squash so I went for it and I’m glad I did - delish! Now I opted for the spicy sausage, all that goat cheese gets creamy and I like how the spiciness cuts through the sauce.
I hope you like this pasta as much as my family and I do. If you decided to give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments below or tag #desociointhekitchen on social media! Enjoy!
1 package Wamplers Sausage, I like the hot but they do have mild
1 pound butternut squash, I use the pre-cut version from Trader Joes.
1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sage
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta - cooked al dente
1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup walnuts - chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan, shredded
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the squash and onion together and season with salt, pepper, and sage. Spread out veggies on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables have started to brown and are cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still a little firm (al dente), about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and drain the remaining water.
While the pasta and vegetables are cooking, brown the sausage, chopping into small bits. Cook thoroughly until there is no pink.
In a large bowl, add the drained pasta, break up the goat cheese and add to the pasta, add in spinach, sausage, veggies, and half the walnuts. Then pour in 1 cup of hot pasta water. Toss and mix until the cheese melts and forms a sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with Parmesan and remaining walnuts, serve immediately.
Notes: The sauce will thicken after it sits for a while. Save a little pasta water in the refrigerator. You can heat it up and use it the next day to reconstitute the sauce. Get the pasta water nice and hot and add a little at a time until you reach a consistency you like.