Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomato Ragu.
When it comes to Monday dinner, you know I am all about a good bowl of pasta, and this Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomato Ragu is high oh my list.
I’m sure you guys have days when you’re just not sure what to make for dinner? If I’m being honest, most days I pretty much always have a list of the recipes I need to make and test that day. It doesn’t matter whether they are blog recipes or recipes for a project I’m working on, I almost always know what I am making before I head into the kitchen.
I’m pretty sure that’s not the norm though, I mean do you guys cook up three to four recipes a day, five days a week? Thinking that’s probably a no.
Back before I started Half Baked Harvest, I remember most of the time I went into the kitchen to start dinner I had no idea what I was making. I used to love being creative with the ingredients I had on hand, or making something based off of a sibling’s craving. These days my recipes have to be a little more thought out, but last week I had a recipe that I ended up having to scratch for today’s post. It’s an amazing recipe, but I can’t tell you about it just yet…
Since this was an unexpected switch up, I needed to quickly come up with a delicious recipe for today. All I knew was that I wanted something easy in case any of you are in search of a good Halloween dinner for tomorrow, but that was my only criteria. Originally, I was thinking something with chicken. I actually had zero thoughts of pasta, but then somehow, this Ragu just happened and I could not be happier about it.
Throughout fall I have been on a serious winter squash and pumpkin kick. I know most people are this time of year, but for some reason this fall I am especially into it…so many yummy squash recipes still to come. I was literally scratching my head standing in my kitchen trying to decide what I wanted to make or even what flavor I wanted to go with. Frustration was quickly setting in (have you been here?), so I decided to grab the ingredients I had in surplus.
Canned tomatoes, butternut squash, and red wine…oh and butter. Obviously.
Is that a weird bunch of ingredients to have on hand? I always have canned tomatoes, and in the fall lots of butternut and acorn squash. As for the wine? Well, I have plenty of siblings who often stop in for that?
I remembered making this crockpot Tuscan sausage and white bean ragu quite a while ago, but I hadn’t cooked an Italian style meal in a bit. So I took the spicy Italian sausage I had sitting in the freezer and decided to go the Ragu route. But you guys, this is not just any Ragu. Nope, this Ragu is extra special, and for one very important reason.
Instead of simmering this sauce on the stove, we’re roasting it up in the oven, and it makes all the difference.
Just like a traditional Ragu, this does start out on the stove where you’ll brown the meat, but once you add the tomatoes, you transfer the sauce to the oven to slow roast. I know this may seem weird, but roasting the tomatoes along with the butternut squash brings out the sweetness in both veggies and allows them to caramelize on the top. It’s also deepens the flavors of the tomatoes, taking canned tomatoes to an entirely new level.
And then there’s the addition of the butter. I know, you guys must think all I use is butter (ahh, I guess I use a lot of it…), but it adds a richness to this sauce that sets it apart from all others.
Plus, we’re heading into the month of November this week and it’s just that time of year when butter in just about everything is, OK.
I served up this flavorful sauce over a bed of pappardelle pasta with a sprinkle of good parmesan.
Delicious and the perfect dinner to cook up tonight.
Also? I feel like you should know that I went back and forth many, many times between using pappardelle and rigatoni. In the end, the creature of habit in me won because I love a long cut pasta. BUT, I think rigatoni, especially the big and fancy ones (I’m sure there is a name for these…anyone?) would be equally good. So as always, use what you love.
Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomato Ragu
Just like a traditional Ragu, this starts out on the stove top where you brown the meat, but the difference in this Ragu is that once you add the tomatoes, you transfer the sauce to the oven to slow roast. Delicious!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground spicy Italian sausage
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 can (28 ounce) San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound Pappardelle or your favorite cut of pasta
- burrata cheese and parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sausage, onion, and garlic and cook until the sausage has browned all over, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the butternut squash and continue cooking until the squash is golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, sage, and thyme. Arrange the butter slices over top.
3. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is soft and the sauce thickened. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain. Stir the pasta into the Ragu sauce.
5. Divide the pasta among plates and top with burrata and parmesan. EAT.
Pretty sure it’s going to be a boo-tiful week.
Our Favorite Recipes
Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon Maple Butter.