I know it’s January, and that kind of timing often spurs best behavior, “my body is a temple” like diet regimens, but sometimes a girl just needs her carbs. Here to meet us halfway: Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Kale.
This lightened up pasta recipe has enough rib-sticking power to warm you on the dreariest winter night. At the same time, it offers feel-good nutritional benefits, thanks to a generous portion of redeeming produce in the forms of butternut squash and kale.
This easy, one-pan pasta is the ideal recipe for this fresh time of year. We’re a bit too early to (completely) blow our well-intentioned, post-holiday detox promises, but sitting down to a cold plate of greens on a chilly night feels too sad to fathom. <—For the record, I rail against sad dinners year-round, but in January when I’m already tired of winter and there’s no end of it in sight, those feelings are at the forefront.
This pasta tastes luxurious, far more so than you’d expect from its comparably lean ingredient list. The tenderness of the sautéed butternut squash combined with the heartiness of Reames Frozen Egg Noodles (which have a fantastic texture—more on that in a moment) makes this pasta sumptuous. All it takes from there is a little splash of half and half, and you’ll be in a pasta paradise.
Italian turkey sausage (or chicken sausage) provides protein and staying power. Kale keeps it lean and green. The entire shebang cooks in the same pot (even the noodles!), so after you’ve feasted like a queen, you’ll feel a little closer to royalty when you only have a single dish to clean in the end.
How to Make Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta
The magic of this recipe all comes together in a single pot. It’s all about how the squash breaks down and mingles with the other ingredients. The starches from the noodles help thicken the sauce too.
- Butternut Squash. This orange beauty is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and antioxidants. I adore it sautéed in pasta. It’s lightly sweet and tender.
- Chicken or Turkey Sausage. Lean and loaded with flavor. I used a chicken apple sausage that our grocery store carries (it was harvesty and delish). Classic Italian sausage (mild or spicy depending upon your preference) would be fantastic too.
- Kale. This hearty green is high in vitamin K and fiber. It’s excellent in pasta because it can stand up to the sautéing and hold its own in the thick sauce. It tastes especially excellent with butternut squash.
- Red Onion. For a bit o’ bite.
- Egg Noodles. Quick, convenient, and they have a hearty, enjoyable texture.
- Sage. Earthy sage and sweeter butternut squash are so natural a pair, I almost can’t make a butternut squash recipe without this cozy herb. A little sage goes a long way, so I recommend starting with the amount listed in the recipe, then adding more if you are a true sage fiend.
- Nutmeg + Cayenne Pepper. One is warm and nutty, the other provides a slight touch of heat. You’ll love these spices with butternut squash.
- Parmesan. Nutty Parm provides the lightly sharp, salty counterpoint to the richness of the sauce.
- Half and Half. This recipe calls for a slightly indulgent but not overdone ½ cup. To make it even richer, you could add a few extra tablespoons, though we were happy with the lesser amount.
- Grab a large skillet or Dutch oven and place it over medium-high heat. Add your oil, and once it’s hot, add the sausage. Once the meat is browned and cooked through, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and add the rest of the oil, squash, onion, and spices. Stir occasionally until the squash is tender and golden (about 8 minutes).
- Add the remaining spices. Continue cooking until your garlic is softened and fragrant.
- Place your kale on top of everything in the skillet, pour in the broth, and cover. Simmer over medium heat for 4 minutes.
- Stir in your noodles and half and half, then recover. Once the noodles are cooked through and the kale is tender, remove from the heat.
- Add in the sausage. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan and sage, and season to taste. Serve hot, and delight in each mouthwatering forkful!
How to Store and Reheat
- To Store. Place leftover butternut squash pasta in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm this dish in the microwave until warmed through.
What to Serve with Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Kale
- Roasted Vegetables. Both Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Zucchini would hit the spot!
- Salad. A fresh, light salad always pairs nicely with a hearty recipe like this. Try Anytime Arugula Salad, Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, or Winter Kale Salad With Pomegranate.
Thanks to this one pot butternut squash pasta with sausage and kale, you can keep your January promises and treat yourself too!
Butternut Squash Pasta With Sausage and Kale
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken sausage any flavor you like (I used apple chicken sausage. Mild or spicy Italian sausage would be delicious too)
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/4 pounds) cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups cubes total; if you have a little extra, use a very large skillet and add it all if you really love squash, or reserve the extra for another time)
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves minced garlic about 1 tablespoon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 14.5 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 12 ounces frozen egg noodles 1/2 package
- 1 medium bunch kale about 8 ounces, stemmed removed and chopped (about 4 cups chopped)
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Heat a large, tall-sided skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium high. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sausage. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Reduce the skillet heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the squash, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg, cayenne, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Continue cooking until the garlic is softened and fragrant, about 1 additional minute.
- Add the kale on top, pour in the broth, then immediately cover the pot. Simmer on medium heat for 4 minutes.
- Stir in the noodles and half and half, then recover the pot. Simmer until the noodles are cooked through and the kale is tender, about additional 5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Remove the noodles from the heat. Stir in the sausage. Sprinkle with Parmesan and sage. Taste and season with additional salt as needed. The amount you need will vary based on your particular sausage and chicken broth (I added a good pinch). Serve hot.
- TO STORE: Place leftover butternut squash pasta in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm this dish in the microwave until warmed through.
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