I learned something about myself this week: I could never live alone.
I like to think I’m a pretty independent lady. But with Dan out of town at a work conference all week, I’ve pretty much turned into a neurotic psycho.
Every little noise, all night long, I shoot up in bed fully convinced an army of robbers has entered my apartment. This has obviously become detrimental to my sanity and the growing bags under my eyes — and my electricity bill as I keep the lights on far too long in paranoia. (Who am I?)
Needless to say, if I lived alone in the city, I’d definitely need an apartment with a doorman. Or maybe I just like companionship (or my husband.)
But I officially made it! I’m alive! And on my way to meet the dear old hub in Charlotte, NC to see our new twin neice and nephew for the first time (!!!!)
The one GOOD thing about Dan being gone is that it’s prompted my busy-bee-planner self to do something every day — plans with a friend, trips to the gym, errands that have been on my list for months. Those who know me are probably not very surprised, but I’ve had a super productive week.
One of the things I got to do was spend some much needed time with a variety of gal pals, including one of my maids of honor (yes, I had two).
We had an awesome wine night in and, you guessed it, COOKED this sucker.
Butternut squash is still in style, guys. As long as these Chicago temps stay low (and I mean LOW — like as in currently -2,) butternut squash will remain on my menu, despite its Thanksgiving connections.
Inspired by How Sweet Eats, this tasty dish uses caramelized butternut squash for a hearty sauce and is made in a cast iron skillet to get that bubbly, cheesy topping we all love.
I also added chicken sausage and used gluten-free rice noodles (yep, still on a g-free kick) — but you could totally make your own wheaty or non-meaty adaptation.
We totally went back for seconds. And you will, too. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash & Sage Pasta
1 pkg. gluten-free pasta (could use regular noodles if desired)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pkg. Italian chicken sausage, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage, plus more for topping (use the fresh stuff — it’s worth it)
1 whole butternut squash, chopped into cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
Cook noodles according to package.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and chicken sausage, stirring occasionally and sauteing for ~5 minutes. Add garlic, chopped sage, salt and pepper. Cook for about another minute and remove from skillet, setting aside in a bowl.
Next, melt butter in the skillet for about a minute. Add butternut squash and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix until combined and cover for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, and recover for about ~5 minutes (stirring occasionally) until squash is soft.
Reduce heat and uncover. Using a potato masher, mash squash until smooth. Add milk, 1/2 of the parmesan (1/4 cup) and 1/2 of the fontina (1/2 cup or 4 oz.) Stir, stir, stir until melty and smooth. If your mixture is too thick, add more milk and keep stirring.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
When your sauce is ready, add your chicken sausage mixture and combine. Then, add your noodles. Mix until all is combined. Top with remaining fontina (1/2 cup or 4 oz.) and parmesan (1/4 cup.) Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown slightly.
Remove from the oven and top with additional chopped fresh sage.