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Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, Spicy Sausage and Baby Spinach

Ingredients

11 oz (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage

    1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced (I bought chopped)

      1 tbsp whipped butter

        10 oz pasta, wheat or gluten-free (I used whole grain)

          1/4 cup shallots, minced

            3 cloves garlic, minced

              2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

                2 tbsp fresh shaved parmesan cheese

                  4 sage leaves, sliced thin (I did not use these)

                    kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

                      Instructions

                      Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft.

                        Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.

                          Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

                            Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.

                              Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes.

                                Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking.

                                  Add baby spinach and stir in parmesan cheese and sage. Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.

                                    Serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side if desired.