ROASTED SQUASH, SAUSAGE AND SAGE FUSILLI

By: Heather Trim

Roast the squash to bring out the sweetness, then prepare the sauce in advance. All that's left to do is cook the pasta.

1 medium butternut squash
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
¾ lb (375 g) mild or hot Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 cups (500 mL) sliced mixed mushrooms,
(oyster, shiitake, button) about 4 oz (125 g)
1 red pepper, sliced into thin julienne strips
8 large sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lb (500 g) fusilli, rotini or penne 
½ cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

2. Peel squash and discard seeds. Cut into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with about 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, then toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Roast in centre of preheated oven until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove from oven.

3. Meanwhile, remove sausages from casing and place in a large deep frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil if sausages are lean. Stir to break up meat. Once meat starts to lose its pink colour, add onion and mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir 5 more minutes, reducing heat if necessary. Add red pepper and sage, cook and stir 5 more minutes. Turn heat to low. (Or refrigerate sauce to this point, and finish when cooking the pasta).

4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook just until al dente. Stir ½ cup (125 mL) pasta water into sauce. Then drain pasta well. Turn pasta into sauce along with squash and gently mix. Stir in Parmesan. Stir gently until combined. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Makes 4 to 6 servings