Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Orecchiette with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Sausage

Orecchiette with butternut squash, brussel sprouts and sausage

I never really ate brussels sprouts as a kid. Not because I didn't like them, but because I don't remember ever being introduced to them. See, both my parents had been burned by mushy, overcooked, boiled brussels sprouts as kids and never wanted to try them again as adults. And so, the great Brussels Sprout Hatred was almost perpetuated for another generation.

Finally, at some point in my young adulthood, despite all the horror stories I had heard, I decided to be so brave and had brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and onion at a friend's house. Now, that's the way to be introduced to brussels sprouts! Brussels&Bacon! As it turns out, they are pretty delicious and I've been hooked ever since.

Since then I've converted many a brussels sprout hater with roasted sprouts, raw sprout salads, and of course, the tried and true brussels&bacon! Now I think I have a new dish that can have much of the same effect - creamy, cheesy pasta with sweet squash, spicy sausage, and of course, brussels sprouts! Give a whirl and see if you can change some minds!

Orecchiette with butternut squash, brussel sprouts and sausage

Orecchiette with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Sausage

1lb orecchiette pasta
3/4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, halved
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1lb hot italian sausage links, about 4 links
1 large leek, white and light green only, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup apple cider
4 oz Mystic Cheese Company Melville, or marscarpone
1/3 cup parmigiano regiano, grated, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp sage, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss the squash and brussels sprouts with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender and vegetables are beginning to brown. Set aside.

2. While the vegetables are roasting, in a large pot heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage links and cook, browning all sides, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Move cooked sausage to a plate and reduce heat to medium-low.

3. Cook your pasta in salted water according to package instructions for al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.

3. While the pasta is cooking, add the butter to the same pot you cooked the sausage. Add the sliced leek and a pinch of salt and cook on medium low until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the apple cider and continue to cook, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until all liquid is evaporated. Add the garlic and stir, cooking just until fragrant. 

4. Add the cooked pasta to the pot with the leeks, then add the Melville or marscarpone and half the reserved pasta water and stir until all the cheese is melted. Slice the cooked sausage and add that, the roasted squash and brussels sprouts, parmigiano, sage, remaining 1/2 cup pasta water and salt & pepper, to taste. Toss gently until well combined. Serve with extra grated parmigiano.

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