Harvest Baked Penne with Sausage

By jphilg
January 4, 2012
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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

Serves: 6-8

  • 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
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. 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.
  3. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente, about 10 min. Drain well, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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