The arrival of fall brings with it a bounty of cold weather ingredients to the marketplace, including a variety of winter squash, and a good selection of greens. I was so happy to find Kabocha squash at our local outdoor market in Deruta, that I bought three of them. I love all winter squash, but particularly like Kabocha squash because it has dense, not too watery flesh, and a very subtle sweetness that allows you to use it in both sweet and savory dishes. In place of the Kabocha squash, you could also use butternut squash or a cooking pumpkin.
I had used up most of my squash before we left Umbria, and had just a half of one remaining. I decided to make a creamy pasta dish. I added some crumbled Italian sausage to create a hearty meal, along with mascarpone cheese instead of heavy cream. Mascarpone adds a richness to pasta sauces that I find particularly satisfying, and I knew it would bring the squash and sausage together.
Deborah Mele 2016
- 1 Pound Cleaned & Cubed Kabocha Squash
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Pound Sausage Links, Meat Removed From Casings
- 6 Fresh Sage Leaves, Finely chopped
- 4 Ounces Macarpone Cheese, At Room Temperature
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 12 Ounces Dried Pasta
- Grated Pecorino Cheese
- Melt together the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the squash.
- Cook the squash until fork tender, stirring often, bout 7 minutes.
- Remove the squash to a plate and set aside.
- Add the sausage meat to the skillet, and cook until lightly browned and no longer pink, breaking the meat into small pieces with two forks as it cooks.
- Add the squash to the skillet, mashing it with a fork, then stir in the mascarpone cheese and sage.
- Cook until the sauce is thick and bubbly, then season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta until it is “al dente”.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water.
- Return the pasta to the pot along with the sauce and stir until well mixed, adding some of the pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.
- Serve the pasta piping hot in individual bowls topped with grated Pecorino cheese.