Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Sage

During quarantine I think many have been finding that the daily walks are a time to clear your head and maybe reset between work and relaxation. It was during one of these walks that I kept thinking about this butternut squash and what I was going to create with it. Although it is “spring” here in New England, the weather quite has not caught up. That’s why I wanted to turn this recipe into something that was warm and hearty, but also still had elements of freshness and bright notes. This recipe exceeded everything I thought of during my walk, and I hope when you create it, it will exceed your expectations too!

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Sage

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A warm pasta dish with loads of bright notes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1 small-medium spaghetti squash
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, or 1 package frozen spinach drained of liquid
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1 medium onion
  • fresh parsley
  • a nutty/pepper Parmesan
  • 1 tsp chicken base

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Wash, peel, and cut the butternut squash into ~1 inch cubes.
  2. Add a tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to the squash, tossing to coat, and then roast until tender (20 min) flipping halfway through.
  3. Put on a pot of salted water for the pasta as you continue to prep the sauce
  4. Dice the onion. In a dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of butter, set to medium heat and then add in the onion. Stirring continuously. Once the onions begin to get translucent, add in the sage (dried sage is best, but if you have ground sage that will work as well). Continue to cook until starts to brown.
  5. When the onions have begun to caramelize add in a 1/2 teaspoon of chicken base and 1/2 cup of water. Make sure to get all of the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the raw spinach and a lid to the dutch oven to begin to wilt it down.
  7. About this time, your squash should be ready, and your pasta water boiling. Add the roasted squash to the dutch oven.
  8. Just before you drain your pasta, add one ladle worth of liquid to the pan. (this starchy water will help build up your sauce to cling to your pasta). Then drain and add everything to the pan. Now add your lemon zest.
  9. Stir everything in the pot for a few moments before platting and finishing.
  10. Finish with fresh parsley and LOTS of grated cheese.
  11. ENJOY!

Sausage over creamy Polenta

This recipe came to be after a 20 mile bike ride where we found ourselves starving and looking for something that was easy but also a little bit of a reward (I mean we did just bike 20 miles!) so we came to this recipe! And have made it many times since!

Sausage Over Creamy Polenta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A creamy satisfying revamp of sausage and peppers.

Ingredients

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 6 Italian Sausage (hot or sweet)
  • 1 Onions
  • 1 Cup Polenta
  • 2.5 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Milk, or a splash of cream
  • 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • A dollop of mustard and garlic powder

Directions

  1. Slice peppers and onions into strips, cook in a skillet until tender.
  2. Grill the sausage.
  3. Follow the instructions for cooking polenta as dictated on package. Mine called for three cups of water to 1 cup of polenta. I added 1/2 Cup milk to help boost the creaminess. Once the polenta is cooked, about 30 minutes, add in the garlic and mustard (just a little to help bring out the creaminess), and the Parmesan.
  4. Once everything is ready, assemble and enjoy!

Stuffed Up

Goat Cheese and Bread Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A unique twist on stuffed peppers with light airy filling.

Ingredients

  • 6 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 loaf crusty bread
  • 6oz crumbled goat cheese
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • powdered garlic
  • tablespoon oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash and dry peppers and grill whole until tender and blistered. If you do not have a grill, these can be roasted in an oven. 425 for 20 minutes.
  2. Once peppers are tender, cut off the tops and carefully remove the seeds. Create a small opening, but maintain some structural integrity of the pepper.
  3. Cut your bread into 1/2 inch cubes and toast in a pan or oven with oil and a light dusting of garlic powder.
  4. Once toasted, combine in a bowl with chopped capers, the lemon zest, and the goat cheese.
  5. Stuff into the peppers and enjoy!

Cotechino Sausage with Cous Cous Saute

Last week I went to hear Mario Batali talk at Harvard, and everything he talked about brought me right back to Italy this summer, and my god I missed it.  After listening to him talk and watch him cook for an hour, I kicked myself for letting my passion for cooking and maintaining this blog fall by the way side. But it is a new month, soon to be a new year, and the time to change is now. This recipe took parts from what I saw while at Mario, and turned it into a new dish.  This sausage was what Mario made for us and I am obsessed.  It has so much flavor, probably from how many types of meat are in it and it also comes from Modena, so naturally it is fantastic. This can be made vegetarian and is a simple fantastic meal to enjoy whenever.

Ingredients:

  • Cotechino sausage (or other Italian Sausage)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3/4 cup cooked cous cous
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

How to:

  1. Slice the sausage into disks.
  2. In a pan, place your butter in and then cook the sausage until crispy and a dark/golden brown on the edges.
  3. Remove the sausage from the pan and place on the side.
  4. Take your zucchini and onion and shred them.
  5. Then add them into the same pan your were cooking the sausage in, add in the garlic
  6. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook down until everything is tender.
  7. Add in the cous cous and continue to cook for a few minutes until incorporated.
  8. Add in the parmesan and cook on low heat until everything gets cheesy.
  9. Remove from heat and add the sausage back in.
  10. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic dressing and more cheese, and enjoy!