butternut squash & sausage baked pasta

This is a great pasta bake for a cool fall or winter night — perfect for a cabin weekend.

Butternut Squash & Sausage Baked Pasta

Olive oil
1 butternut squash
1 pound hot sausage
1 box whole wheat pasta (13.25 oz; ziti, rotini, etc)
2 cups chicken stock
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
6 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh sage, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Cut squash in half lengthwise; drizzle inside with olive oil and season and salt and pepper. Place face-down on a baking sheet (covered with foil) and roast for about 45 minutes, or until squash is tender and the skin is bubbling and will be easy to peel off. Remove from oven and allow to cool before peeling off the skin. Mash the squash with a potato masher and set aside. Reduce oven temp to 400°.

2. Sautée 4 cloves of garlic and leeks in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in mashed squash, chicken broth, parsley, and basil. Cook until heated through and smooth; stir in ricotta and remove from heat.

3. In another pan, sautéed remaining 2 cloves of garlic until fragrant. Add sausage, stirring frequently and breaking into small crumbles. When almost cooked, add kale and cook until wilted. 

4. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add squash mixture and sausage/kale mixture and stir with 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

5. Butter a 9×13 or 11×13 baking dish. Pour pasta and sauce mixture into dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Feeds 6-8.

Serve with wine and good friends. Excuse drunken photography.

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Adapted from here.

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