Now that the holidays are over we can focus on plain, old, winter cooking. I love winter squashes, and butternut squash, in particular, is one of my favorites. I set out to make a vegetarian meal one night using spinach, carmelized onions, and butternut squash and pasta, and it looked like a lot of work. So I made this up as I went along, instead, and it turned out great!
Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
-1 large butternut squash
-3 large yellow onions
-1 tbsp butter
-2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
-6 cloves (1 tbsp) minced garlic
-15 oz ricotta
-1 tsp crushed red pepper
-1/4 cup milk
-1/4 cup chopped parsley
-2 oz shredded parmesan
-1 cup shredded mozzarella
-spinch and/or arugula (I like the pre-packaged 50/50 mix)
-olive oil spray
1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the onions in half and then slice in thin, half-moon strips. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook over medium heat, slowly, until a pretty brown color, about 20-25 minutes.
2. Remove onions and cook sausage and garlic in the same pan until sausage is browned.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta as package directs. When the pasta's finished, drain pasta over spinach/arugula (so that it wilts without an extra step!).
4. Add onions, ricotta, red pepper, milk, and parsley to skillet and cook until well-mixed and thickened. Add pasta and spinach/arugula.
5. Spray a casserole pan with the olive oil spray and pour the mixture from the skillet into the pan. Top with shredded cheeses and bake for ~30 minutes or until cheese is melty and browning.
(This makes a LOT of food. A lot. It made three pans and will easily serve 8-12 people as a main/only course. I froze two pans and while it was okay, the casserole wasn't nearly as delicious as when it was fresh. So you could fill up a 9x13 pan and feed a crowd.)
I'm calling this a success. I hope you enjoy it, too!