Pasta with Crumbled Sausage, Sage & Winter Squash
We love this dish, made for us by our friend chef Sara Jenkins, using Rustichella d'Abruzzo PrimoGrano Sagne a Pezzi.
—Sara Jenkins is the chef and owner at Porchetta and Porsena, NYC. She is the author of two cookbooks: Olives and Oranges and The Four Seasons of Pasta, co-written with her mother, Nancy Jenkins. Recipe courtesy of Sara Jenkins.
- 10–12 sage leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, like Rustichella d'Abruzzo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup red or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
- 2 Italian-style sausages (sweet, fennel or spicy) (about 1/2 pound)
- 2 teaspoons Wild Fennel Pollen
- pinch ground or flaked red chili pepper (optional), like Sun-Dried Cruschi Peppers
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 1/2–5 cups coarsely chopped firm, orange-fleshed squash
- about 1 pound Rustichella d'Abruzzo PrimoGrano Sagne a Pezzi
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Set aside 4 or 5 of the largest sage leaves to crip in oil and use for garnish. Chop the rest to make 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped sage.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic. Remove the sausage meat from its casings and as soon as onion and garlic start to sizzle, crumble the ground sausage in. Let the sausage meat cook briefly, tossing and stirring it, until it has rendered out its fat. When it just stops being pink, stir in the chopped sage. If using fennel pollen and/or chili pepper, add them now.
Bring a large pot of abundantly salted water to a rolling boil.
Add the chopped squash to the sausage in the saucepan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook briskly until the squash is soft, cooked through, and some pieces are beginning to disintegrate. Keep the sauce just simmering over low heat while the pasta cooks.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over high heat and add the reserved whole sage leaves. Sauté, turning, until the leaves are crisp, then remove to a paper towel to drain.
When the pasta water is boiling vigorously, add the pasta, return to a boil and cook just a few minutes. When the pasta is al dente, stir a ladeful of pasta water into the sausage-squash sauce. Drain the pasta and turn it into a warm serving bowl. Add the sauce, along with the grated parmigiano, and toss. Garnish with chopped parsley and finally with the crisp-fried sage leaves. Serve immediately, passing more grated cheese at the table.