According to my mom, squash and yams were some of my favorite foods as an infant. I apparently ate so many of them that the bottoms of my feet turned slightly orange in color, at which point my mom (rightly) became concerned and scaled back my squash/yam consumption. I don’t remember any of this, and oddly, from as far back as my memory permits, I hated squashes and yams. Incidentally, “squash” and “yam” are both really strange-sounding words when you repeat them so many times that they lose all meaning. Squash. Yam. Squaaaaash. Squayam. Sasquatch. Wait what?
Anyhow. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I randomly had a craving for yams one day during my senior year of college, so I got some, cooked them, and decided that maybe my taste buds could change. Fast forward several years and I finally for the first time purchased and voluntarily ate a squash.* And it was good. Here’s how it all went down.
This dish is simple, sweet, savory, and scrumptious. Best of all, it’s a meal all by itself – it’s got carbs, protein, and veggies all joined together in delicious harmony.
*I suppose I have purchased a number of zucchini and pumpkins in my life, but only very seldom and usually in order to make delicious baked goods with them, but never just to eat them with their own texture and flavor still intact.
- 5 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1-inch cubes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces sausage
- 12 ounces whole wheat pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 packed cups arugula
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix cubed butternut squash with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake about 25-30 minutes, until squash can be easily pierced with a toothpick.
- While squash is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions on package. Drain and return to pot. Add butter and stir until melted.
- Heat sausage in a nonstick skillet or cast iron pan until browned (this step will vary depending on the type of sausage you choose – the turkey sausage links I use are already fully cooked, so browning the pieces doesn't take long).
- Add squash, sausage, lemon zest, lemon juice, arugula, and walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Serve and garnish individual portions with goat cheese.
- Barilla sells whole wheat pasta in packages of 13.25 ounces, which is what I used. I rounded the amount here for the sake of simplicity, in the hopes that whatever pasta you choose comes in a more standard quantity.
- You can use whatever form of sausage you prefer—patties, links, or from a chub. The store I went to only had turkey sausage in the form of links, so I used those and chopped them into pieces while browning them.
Notes: Barilla sells whole wheat pasta in packages of 13.25 ounces, which is what I used. I rounded the amount here for the sake of simplicity, in the hopes that whatever pasta you choose comes in a more standard quantity. You can use whatever form of sausage you prefer—patties, links, or from a chub—the store I went to only had turkey sausage in the form of links, so I used those and chopped them into pieces while browning them.