Autumn Pasta: Butternut Squash, Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

I made my own version of this in 2008 and it is still one of my favorite fall dishes. The sage and squash are a great combo and everyone oohs and aahs when I make it.

Recently, I saw Anne Burrel make a version of this pasta but with broccoli rabe (love) and toasted pepitas on top. I was intrigued.

What is it about broccoli rabe that makes me love it? That bitterness and depth and bright green color. I could eat it everyday.

Anne roasted her squash, but I did everything in one pan on the stove instead. I used a huge skillet and did all the work.

This was meant to be a vegetarian recipe, but I had to add some Italian sausage. You decide.

Pasta w/ Butternut Squash, Rabe & Sausage: (adapted from Anne Burrel)

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
2 Italian sausage links (casings removed), (optional)
1 bunch of broccoli rabe, tough bottom stems removed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups veggie or chicken stock
3/4 lb. of pasta (penne works well)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
1/4 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), toasted

In a large 12" skillet, cook the squash cubes in olive oil & kosher salt for about 6 minutes without disturbing them, so they get nice and brown. (alternatively, Anne roasts her squash in a 375F oven for 20 minutes w/ olive oil and kosher salt).
Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan as you cooked the squash, heat some more olive oil and brown your sausage meat, breaking it up w/ the back of a wooden spoon (if using). Place in the bowl w/ the squash.

Wash the broccoli rabe and trim the stems. Keep some water on the leaves while cooking.

Add more olive oil if necessary to the skillet and add the rabe, hot pepper flakes and garlic. Move around with tongs for a few minutes until wilting (about 6 minutes). Season liberally with kosher salt.

Add the squash and sausage back into the skillet w/ the broccoli rabe.

Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes until the butternut squash is nice and tender.

Boil the pasta as per directions and save 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water (this will thicken the sauce).

Transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet and add the reserved pasta water. Add the grated cheese directly to the skillet and mix together.

Serve in a big bowl and sprinkle w/ toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas).


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Lori Lynn said…
Hi Stace - Ooh sounds great. With or without sausage.
The JR said…
You make it look good!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
That's a perfect autumn meal and I could eat that even without the sausage.
Ginny said…
Stacy, made this tonite and it was only DELICIOUS!!!! I omitted the sausage and nobody missed it. Thanks! (the pepitas were excellent on top!).
Claudia said…
Sausage for husband - me? Either way. But broccoli rabe hides here - very hard to find and darn it - no real substitute. And the meal begs for it. This looks so good - it beats leaf-watching.
I could eat this without sausage and have, I make butternut squash every week, love it with the broccoli rabe!
KT said…
I made this last night and it played to rave reviews, despite forgetting all about the pepitas (bummer - they're still sitting on my counter). I used some smoked pork loin I had as a substitute for the sausage and it worked well. Curious about the reference to sage, as sage does work so well with squash. Did you put sage in the dish, or referring to sage in the sausage? In any case, a definite make-again.
Stacey Snacks said…
Hi KT,
I was referring to the highlighted original recipe that I first made using sausage, sage and squash, which was TERRIFIC! I like the first recipe even better. Here it is again, so you can see it.