Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's For Dinner?

There are days around here where my creativity has ebbed, and I feel like dinner is the last thing I want to make.  Today was one of those days; I'm working on a power point presentation, and by the time I got to the kitchen I wasn't sure what we would have for dinner.  I sure hoped it wasn't what was in that cauldron!

In the pantry/fridge I had Italian sausage, this cute little butternut squash, rainbow chard and left over penne.  I decided to make a dish that I have adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper the amazing author and radio hostess of The Splendid Table. She cooks like I do, with fresh ingredients, and she doesn't fuss a lot with the ingredients.   I love the technique of roasting the vegetables before adding them to the pasta--I highly recommend that you try it sometime!

Penne with Sausage, Chard and Sweet Squash
Serves 4 to 6

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups finely chopped butternut squash
One bunch rainbow chard, or Swiss chard, or black kale, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
pinch red pepper
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (either sweet or spicy--your choice)
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 pound penne pasta cooked 3 minutes short of al dente
1/4 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet or aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, garlic, squash, chard, oil, salt and pepper, tossing to coat the vegetable with the oil.  Bake the vegetables for 15 to 17 minutes, until the squash is tender, and the chard is crispy.  

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the sausage, in a deep skillet, breaking apart any large chunks.  

Drain off any excess fat from the sausage.  Add the chicken or vegetable broth and pasta and keep warm.

When the vegetables are tender, add them to the skillet with the penne, and toss to coat with the sauce, and vegetables.  If the pasta absorbs too much of the liquid in the pan, add more broth, or some of the pasta water.   Toss in the cheese, and stir until the cheese has melted.  

Enrich the sauce with additional broth, pasta water, or heavy cream. 
Have a great weekend! 

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