Italian Sausage with Tomatoes and Penne

Although I try really hard to plan my menus in advance, it is more often than not that I am missing just one key ingredient for whatever I am craving.  It’s kind of frustrating because most days I am car-less (Eric and I share) so I can’t just run to the store whenever I want.  Fortunately I have a wonderful and long-suffering husband (or at least one who likes my food enough to make sacrifices) who is always willing to run to the store on his way home from work.  I wanted to make this recipe a while back, but was missing a banana squash. This is what he came home with:

Can you see that giant specimen?  Maybe I don’t know much about squash (okay, nothing) but I swear I have never even seen one of those.  It is hard as a rock on the outside, like a butternut squash.  I checked the receipt and it said it was an acorn squash.

So we had a little less colorful dinner, no big deal.  I even looked up a recipe to use the squash later.  What else was I going to do with it?

Enter mother in law.  Kris took one look at it and said That’s not an acorn squash, it’s a spaghetti squash. What the heck? Another squash that I’ve never even heard of??  Sure enough, she was right.  It’s called a spaghetti squash because the insides look like spaghetti, apparently.

I wouldn’t know, because here we are weeks later and I obviously haven’t touched it.  Call me squeamish, but the idea of spaghetti squash just doesn’t make me lick my lips.

This Italian dish is to die for.  It seems pretty standard–pasta, sausage, tomatoes–but somehow it manages to overcome “ho-hum-pasta”-ness.  What?

Italian Sausage with Tomatoes and Penne
Source: My friend Becky, who got it from Betty Crocker

3 cups (9 oz) uncooked penne pasta (I didn’t have any so I used rigatoni)
1 pound uncooked Italian sausage links
1/2 cup beef broth (I used bullion)
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves (use fresh if you can, it makes it)
6 green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, cut sausage crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. (or form little “meatballs” from bulk sausage like I did.)  Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage; stir-fry 4 to 6 minutes or until brown. Stir in broth. Cover and cook over medium heat 5 minutes.

Stir in squash, tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in onions. Simmer uncovered 1 minute.

Toss pasta, oil and remaining 2 tablespoons basil. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with sausage mixture.


9 thoughts on “Italian Sausage with Tomatoes and Penne

  1. Ha ha. I looked at the picture and immediately said to myself, “That’s not an acorn squash!” Tee hee. You’ve never cooked acorn squash? You should, it’s good. And that rhymed. Spaghetti squash is good too, it really can be treated like a pasta. I had a friend with gestational diabetes whose non-pregnancy diet consists of noodles pretty much every day. She had spaghetti squash with her sauce instead while pregnant. Or, if you’re interested, I came across a spaghetti squash taco recipe earlier today that sounded intriguing. Let me know if you want me to pass it along to you.

  2. I’m waiting to see what you are going to do with that spaghetti squash Karen! And then I want to read a post and see a picture of something yummy and delicious that you made with it . . . .

  3. And Karen, you do know what summer yellow squash is, right? It’s what I call “yellow zucchini.” You know, the stuff that looks exactly like zucchini (and to me, tastes very similar) but is yellow? So anyway, if you can’t find it at the store, zucchini is the best alternative rather than any of the winter squashes.

    • Yes, I use it a lot in the summer when it is around more. I’ve only heard it called banana squash though. It is an ingredient in my all-time favorite sandwich. I will have to share with you it is sooo good!

      • Actually, banana squash is much different. It grows to gargantuan sizes and is orange in color. And is somewhat sweet. Personally, I’m not much of a fan, especially since, if you get a whole one, you have about 25 pounds of slightly sweet tasting squash to figure out what the heck you’re going to make and eat for the next 5 months.

  4. Pingback: S’mores Bars « The Food Charlatan

  5. Pingback: Lentil and Black Bean Soup « The Food Charlatan

Thanks for the comments, foodies!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s