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Rigatoni with Butternut Squash and Spicy Sausage

It was back to work today after a week off and I couldn’t decide if I was bitter to be there when so few else were (day after Thanksgiving) or if it was a blessing because soooooo much got done. Admittedly, I was both glad and sad to be away most of the day – we returned from Cancun to tuck in our girls Wednesday night and to find Shea’s cheeks rosy red and her looking pathetic with a fever.

More than 48 hours later, she’s still battling this fever. In fact, as I was leaving for work, she was laying (very pathetic-looking) on the stairs and as it ends up, she tucked herself in for a 3 hour nap before 9am hit. Girlfriend needed it.

We had an untraditional Thanksgiving this year – just the 4 of us and the day was spent decorating for Christmas. And doing a ton of laundry. And working out. And snuggles…lots of snuggles. Admittedly, it was probably what we all needed after a week apart.

Mark and I were remarking that it was nice to land at O’Hare after a week of warm temps and have it not be below freezing. In fact, I never changed from my biker shorts (don’t judge) before leaving the airport and schlepping back to our car and then back to Michigan in holiday traffic. But I’m not fooled, winter is a knockin’.

I first fell in love with the butternut squash, pasta, and sausage combo a while ago, but where I lost my mind over the combo was with Butternut Squash and Sausage-Stuffed Shells. Pre-pandemic, it became my go-to winter dish whenever we hosted dinner. The sauce is like velvet. It’s epic. If you have a bit of time for dinner, DO IT. You will not be disappointed!

Howeverrrrrr…if you’re anything like me, you’re probably a bit short on time and/or unwilling to fork over (pun intended) a chunk of precious time on dinner, this recipe is a nice little quickie with very similar flavors. If spicy isn’t your thing, skip the crushed red pepper and/or go with a mild sausage. You can swap in whatever leafy green you prefer, but the chard really does add some fun flavor here! Enjoy!!

Rigatoni with Butternut Squash and Spicy Sausage

Rigatoni with Butternut Squash and Spicy Sausage

Yield: 8 servings (~2 cups each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

The sweet-spicy combo together with al dente pasta and tender greens is an absolute gem that cannot be overlooked or undervalued! Creme fraiche and a bit of pasta water and cheese pull this one together into a creamy perfection.


  • 1 small butternut squash (6 cups cubed)
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 oz spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 bunch swiss chard thick stems removed, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Prick butternut squash with a fork in 6-8 places around the surface. Microwave for 5-6 minutes; remove and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, stir in pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Keep hot.
  3. Slice off the top/stem and bottom of the butternut squash. Peel with a vegetable peeler or large knife. Dice into 3/4-inch cubes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the squash; cook an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Move the squash and onion to one side of the skillet and add the sausage to the other side. Cook until no longer pink, breaking up into a crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  6. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and pepper to the skillet; stir all together and cook for 30-60 seconds.
  7. Add creme fraiche and 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir well and add the swiss chard and Parmesan until well-combined and chard wilts slightly.
  8. Stir in pasta, adding additional pasta water, if desired. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, before serving hot.


Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Cherry on My Sundae

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: approx 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 14.6gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 640mgCarbohydrates: 65.9gFiber: 10.2gSugar: 8.8gProtein: 20.6g

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Looking for more comforting, cold weather food? Look no further!

Be well,

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