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This Sausage & Butternut Squash Penne Pasta with Goat Cheese is the ultimate comfort food – Creamy, cheesy, a little bit spicy, and easily devoured by the spoonful!
Who wants to join me in a big pasta and PJ’s party? We’re talking comfort food, on the couch, with a good Rom Com. Last week, the movie It’s Complicated popped up on the TV. I forgot how much I love that movie! It serves up a bit of romance, with twists and turns, and of course, the underdog that you’re hoping wins the girl at the end…
When you’ve got a great movie on the TV – Your food needs to be just as “dig in” worthy. This Sausage & Butternut Squash Penne with Goat Cheese is just that – It’s creamy, cheesy, a little bit spicy, and easily devoured by the spoonful. It’s a dish that’s low key and simple to make, but totally “share-worthy” too. I mean – This dish can impress some dinner guests!
Start by browning up some Italian sausage that’s been flavored with nutmeg, allspice and red pepper flakes – Let it cook away and coat that skillet with all those amazing flavors. To that, we’ll add in the butternut squash and a bit of onion and garlic for good measure along with my favorite part – A splash of wine. Then, let it all simmer away together while your pasta cooks up.
I’m using Barilla Mini Penne Pasta in this recipe – It’s a brand I grew up with since I was a kid. If my Italian nana used it – You can be sure that it’s a great tasting, quality brand. Fun fact: It’s the #1 pasta choice of Italy. I like the little penne, because you can grab a bit of pasta, a bit of squash and some of that yummy sausage all in one forkful.
A key tip here – When that pasta is done cooking, be sure to reserve that starchy cooking liquid. It’s like liquid gold for thickening up pasta sauces and giving them extra flavor. We’ll add a cup of it to our sausage mixture, along with the cooked pasta and some fresh grated parmesan cheese. Let it all simmer together for a couple minutes and it will become amazingly creamy.
To top it all off, I’m adding some fresh parsley bring a bit of freshness to the dish, along with some fresh crumbled goat cheese. Why? (1) Because I’m a sucker for goat cheese and (2) Because the tanginess of the cheese just goes so perfectly with the hint of sweetness in this pasta dish. Yum!
The last thing we can’t forget before we hop onto the couch with our bowl of pasta in hand and our movie cued up is that glass of wine. I’m going with an approachable Chardonnay from Clos du Bois – It’s a vibrant, elegant chardonnay that pairs amazingly well with creamy pasta dishes. With just a hint of oak and hints of spice and butter, it’s a good a match for this pasta as Steve Martin’s character is to Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated.
Are you an occasional couch eater like me? Sometimes it’s the best cure for a case of the rainy day blues… Especially when it involves this Sausage & Butternut Squash Penne Pasta.
- 12 oz. Barilla Mini Penne Pasta
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. mild bulk Italian sausage
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine or vermouth
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil, over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, breaking into large pieces with the back of a spoon. Add in sage, allspice, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Cook until browned, about 6 minutes.
- Add squash, onion, and garlic.. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 18-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Add pasta to the skillet with the squash and sausage, along with the reserved cooking liquid and parmesan cheese. Cook over medium-low heat until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and crumbled goat cheese and serve immediately.
Wine Pairing for Sausage & Butternut Squash Penne Pasta with Goat Cheese:
- Chardonnay – Look for a lightly oaked wine with some buttery notes.
Looking for more couch-worthy recipes? Be sure to check out Barilla’s recipe inspiration here.