This is one of those recipes we improve on each time we make it, adding or subtracting ingredients we think make a difference. We feel we’ve finally got it down, so before kale and butternut squash season (aka winter) is completely over, we’re making it again. We like this dish because it's a mix of sweet and savory, soft and crunchy. The tang of the blue cheese (or goat or feta, which also work) helps offset the richness of the sausage and the sweetness of the squash. Inspired by this recipe from Inspiralized: http://inspiralized.com/2014/09/28/butternut-squash-noodles-with-shredded-brussels-sprouts-walnuts-and-caramelized-onions/ —Meghan Zichelli
large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
salt and pepper
onion halved and thinly sliced with skin removed
cloves garlic, diced
links of hot Italian sausage, casing removed
kale, washed and dried, leaves removed and roughly torn into small pieces; discard the stems
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Toss the cubed squash in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden and tender, stirring partway through.
Caramelize your onions: heat some olive oil or butter in a pan over medium-low and add the onions. Continue stirring the onions every 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. The onions will gradually begin to break down and become jammy and darker in color. Once they’re caramelized, add a bit of liquid (water, broth, wine) to help scrape up the fond. Salt to taste, take off heat and set aside.
In the meantime, heat a dry pan on medium-high. Add the walnuts and toast until fragrant. Set aside to cool before roughly chopping.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once the sausage is cooked add the kale in bunches, allowing each bunch to begin to wilt before adding more. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon zest.
Remove the sausage and kale mixture from the heat. Mix in the butternut squash, onions, half of the lemon juice to start, walnuts and blue cheese. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed.