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Author Notes: This crowd-pleasing baked pasta is rich, flavorful and sophisticated, but still appeals to picky kids....perfect for apres-snowball-fight dining. —jphilg
- 2 pounds peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole head garlic
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 8 ounces dried penne pasta
- 1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, slivered
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup fresh sage, julienned
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Toss butternut squash, onion, salt and olive oil together and spread in a single layer on a large rimmed sheet pan. Prick the sausages with a fork, then add to the sheet pan. Slice off the top of the head of garlic, wrap in foil, and add to the sheet pan. Roast for 30-35 min., turning vegetables and sausages once, until browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F.
- Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente, about 10 min. Drain well, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Combine cooked pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, sage, creme fraiche and reserved pasta water in a large bowl. Add roasted vegetables. Unwrap garlic and squeeze the roasted cloves into the mixture. Halve sausages lengthwise, then chop crosswise into chunky pieces. Add 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese to the pasta mixture. Gently mix all of the ingredients together.
- Spray a 12 in. baking oval with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the pasta mixture. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and parmesan. Pasta can be refrigerated, covered, at this point for up to 2 days.
- Bake 15-20 min., until bubbly and lightly browned on top. If baking from the refrigerator, bake covered for 15-20 min., then uncover and bake an additional 15-20 min.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Walnuts & Sage
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