Orecchiette with Butternut Squash, Kale and Sausage

(from castro15’s recipe box)

Categories: Pasta


  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for the pasta
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 8 oz. loose sweet or hot Italian sausage
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder, plus more to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 12 oz. orecchiette
  • 1 bunch kale, stems discarded, leaves torn
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese, for topping


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Pour off all but 2 tbsp. of the drippings.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the squash, toss to coat with the oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, the chili powder and some pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the squash is deep golden brown and just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the sausage.

  3. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, which is usually a minute or two less than the box calls for. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking water, then drain.

  4. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat and add about half the kale and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook, tossing, until wilted, adding more kale as each batch wilts. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and toss. The whole process will take about 3 minutes. Some of the kale will be browned and some less cooked—that’s fine.

  5. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pan, then the squash, sausage, pasta, and a generous amount of pepper. Cook, carefully tossing with 2 big spoons to avoid mashing the squash, until well combined and the pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Top with shaved Parmesan.

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