How cold has it been in your city lately?
We've been experiencing unnaturally low temperatures for Champaign in December. Champaign has very mild winters in general, but December is usually in the 30s. After we got pounded with over 8" of snow on the 4th, we got even more snow this past weekend, followed by a few days of single-digit temps and a -16 windchill! Mmmm....terrible. I was going to gripe about how unfair it is that the weather followed me from Wisconsin to Illinois, but then Wisconsin got profoundly snowed in this past weekend (with even worse windchills!), so I can't complain too much.
All this nippiness has left me with warm food on the brain (I know--not that different than usual). This pasta has all of the qualities one looks for in a soul-warming winter dinner--spicy meat, squash, and cheesy pasta. I enjoyed it with a nice Sprecher Black Bavarian beer. By the end of the meal, I was 100% warmer all around.
Farfalle with Spicy Sausage and Butternut Squash (from Food & Wine)
-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-3/4 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
-1 onion, diced
-1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed (**Hot turkey sausage works great here, and you can save some calories!**)
-12 ounces farfalle
-1/2 cup freshly ground Pecorino Romano (**I am cheap and didn't buy this...but I did have parmesan, so I used that instead.**)
-1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the squash, season lightly with salt and cook over high heat, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and sausage and cook over high heat, breaking up the sausage with a spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through. Return the squash to the skillet.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the reserved cooking water and the cheese and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, sprinkle with the parsley and serve right away.