The scene: it’s 4:30 pm, dangerously close to dinner time, and I’m nervously glancing back and forth between our pantry and the clock on the stove. How did I end up here again?
My back-up plan is grilled cheese, a usual occurrence when I’m feeling pressed for time and need something on the table. Not once has anyone complained about being served ‘another’ grilled cheese.
We’re friends now, so I can be honest. The kitchen is one of the few places I enjoy showing off. For someone who approaches complex cooking with fervor and excitement, it’s embarrassing how often I find myself in this position.
Thankfully, we live in a world where pasta exists. And honestly if there’s a dish more comforting than pasta, I’d like to know.
I’m convinced that a large bowl of noodles could solve most problems. As if to-do lists wouldn’t seem so daunting, and the fear of being discovered for wearing the same pair of sweatpants two days in a row would disappear completely. (I see you, moms of young kids. I am you.)
It’s a simple fact: pasta has healing powers. And after helping myself to a few forkfuls (okay, a lot of forkfuls…) straight out of the serving bowl, I felt ready to tackle the world! Or at least bedtime routine by myself, which can frequently feel monumental in its own right.
Let’s talk flavors. Chorizo, roasted butternut squash, sautéed red onions, crispy sage, and more mascarpone cheese than is socially acceptable. Substitute pumpkin or another winter squash if you must, but promise me you’ll try this with chorizo before switching to another protein. Whole Foods has my absolute favorite; you can pick it up behind the butcher counter.
Place a bowl of this in front of anyone and I challenge them to show restraint.
Linguine with chorizo, butternut squash, and sage
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 lb chorizo casings removed
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 12-15 fresh sage leaves plus more chopped
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese room temperature
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb linguine or pasta of your choice
- Preheat oven to 375F. Combine squash in a large bowl with 1 Tbsp olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, and cinnamon. Toss and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until slightly browned and tender, tossing once halfway through cook time.
- While squash is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to remove chorizo and place in a bowl.
- In the same skillet, add the sliced red onion. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are tender.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few tablespoons of salt, then add linguine and cook until al dente. Before draining reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Heat canola or veggie oil over high heat in a small skillet. When very hot, add sage leaves, but cook for only 2 or 3 seconds! Quickly remove with a slotted spoon or large fork and place in a paper-towel lined bowl. Season immediately with a little kosher salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, chorizo, red onion, butternut squash, a couple tablespoons of chopped sage (if you want), and mascarpone cheese. Toss until cheese has melted and everything is evenly coated. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time until sauce has reached your desired consistency. Top with crispy sage leaves and grated Parmesan cheese.