Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Baked Penne with Butternut Squash and Sausage

Yum! Bubbly cheese.

This week, we had another class for students in CU apartments. What a great group! It's just so much fun to turn them on to real food and good eating. And, they are always so happy to get a great meal.

This month's theme was pasta. This recipe looks complex but, really, it isn't. The hardest thing is cutting up the squash. Though the recipe calls for turkey sausage (which is lower in fat than pork), it's just as wonderful and only slightly more decadent with pork Italian sausage, should you be unable to find sweet Italian turkey sausage. Or use chicken Italian sausage like I did tonight, because that's what I found on sale at the market today.

Though there are some expensive ingredients in here - goat cheese runs about $1 per ounce - this recipe makes a lot of servings. So, this recipe is actually quite economical. You get a lot of mileage out of those high cost ingredients by mixing them with inexpensive things like butternut squash and pasta.

Baked Penne with Butternut Squash and Turkey Sausage
(serves 8, costs $12.60)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 ½ cups Vegetable Broth, divided
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
⅓ cup Heavy Cream
Salt And Black Pepper
1 pound Penne Pasta
3 ounces Soft Mild Goat Cheese, crumbled
3 ounces Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

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

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 ½ cup of vegetable broth 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 ground cinnamon, 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, about 15 minutes. There should be plenty of liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

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.

Combine goat cheese and mozzarella in a medium bowl.

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.

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


  1. You mention to "pour in the wine," but do not have a wine listed in the ingredients. What kind of wine do you use and how much?

  2. Good catch daningpianofairy. I missed that in my edit. Originally, the recipe called for 1/2 cup of white wine that gets added after you saute the onions and garlic but I changed it to 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Some of our students are not old enough to legally buy wine. If you can buy wine, you can use that instead of the 1/2 cup of stock, which is what it now says to use in the recipe. Thanks for your careful reading

  3. I made your penne with squash & sausage recipe this week, and we loved it! The cinnamon is such a nice touch, and I'll make a note of the wine substitution, too.
    Thank for this!