Monday, December 10, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Apple Sage Sausage Penne

Mid December is a busy time for me.  We are busy preparing dishes for potlucks at my workplace and DH's workplace to celebrate the holidays.  We plan way ahead what to bring and how to bring the dishes.  We feel that it's wonderful to be able to share our vegan dishes to our non-vegan co-workers.  We choose dishes that are easy to reheat, to transport, and is still good to eat at a room temperature.  The microwave ovens at work are usually so busy that even after we reheat our dishes, we may still have to wait before the potluck party starts.

This year, I decided to bring Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Apple Sage Sausage (Field Roast Vegan Sausage).  This dish is easy to make, colorful, delicious, easy to transport,  and easy to reheat.  I even made this dish the weekend before the week of the potluck party and stored it in the fridge. 

I used fresh herbs: fresh sage and flat leaf parsley.  I also used fresh spices: nutmeg and black pepper.  I would recommend the fresh herbs and spices.  The taste is much better using a nutmeg that is grated from a nut than using the already ground nutmeg, for example.

I also used chopped roasted hazelnut as a topping.  The combination of butternut squash, sage, apple sage sausage and hazelnut is incredibly good.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Apple Sage Sausage Penne
Serves 6

3 cups butternut squash chunks (without peels and seeds, about 3/4 inch cubes)
1 lb.  Penne Rigate (dried pasta, can use gluten-free, if preferred)
2 Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, Field Roast Brand, slice to 1/2 inch chunks
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 brown onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage (if you prefer dried, use 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tsp. salt, more for roasting butternut squash
1/2 tsp. freshly grated black pepper, more for roasting butternut squash
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil

1/2 cup chopped roasted hazelnut

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.   Place butternut squash chunks on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.  Use a spatula to combine oil and spices and spread the chunks in one later.  Roast the chunks for about 30 minutes.  Check for doneness.  Depending on the size of the chunks, the squash should be firm but not too done.  If the chunks are too done, they will be mushy when combined with the pasta.  Set them aside to cool.
  2. Heat 4 quarts of water in a pasta pot.  Add salt generously.  When the water comes into a boil, add the dry pasta.  Simmer for 9 minutes until they are al dente and not soft.  The finishing of the pasta cooking will be done later when combined with other ingredients.
  3. Meanwhile, while the pasta is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on a large wide pot.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute until they are soft and fragrant.
  4. Add red and yellow bell pepper.  Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add Smoked Apple Sage Sausage chunks.  Saute for 3-4 minutes until brown.  Add a little bit of pasta cooking water if they stick to the pan (instead of more oil).
  6. When pasta is al dente, drain, and pour into the pot with other ingredients.  Combine.
  7. Add 1 cup of pasta cooking water, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Combine well and let pasta cook 1 minute longer.  To cook the pasta longer, add more pasta cooking water (1/2 to 1 cup) when water evaporates.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  8. Add the roasted butternut squash chunks and chopped flat leaf parsley.  Combine. Then, take it off from heat.
  9. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped roasted hazelnut.
This dish is reheatable in the microwave and is also good eaten in at room temperature.  Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts after it is microwaved and just before serving.