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Spicy Sausage Squash Pasta alla Vodka with Rustic Croutons

This yummy twist on pasta alla vodka incorporates sweet and buttery butternut squash in the tomato cream vodka sauce that practically melts in (so it's undetectable by picky eaters) topped with crunchy, buttery, torn rustic croutons.

Penne pasta in a tomato cream sauce with sausage, cheese and croutons.
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Frozen, diced butternut squash is perfect for this recipe, inexpensive, and all the hard work is done for you.

Rustic croutons are the perfect way to use up the end of bread before it goes bad.

A skillet of penne pasta with vodka sauce, sausage and parmesan cheese on a rustic wooden back drop.


First, begin to preheat the oven and bring a pot of water to a boil while you prepare the sauce.

Start frying the ground sausage. Halfway through the browning, add the minced garlic and diced squash.

Ground Italian sausage, diced squash, and garlic sautéing in a copper skillet.

Continue sautéing the sausage and squash until crispy.

Pour in the vodka into the hot skillet, and use a spatula to scrape up the stuck browned bits off the pan, deglazing the pan.

Let the vodka simmer for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, stock, and oregano.

Ground sausage, tomatoes and herbs sautéing in a skillet.

Lower heat to medium low and simmer to reduce slightly while you cook the pasta and croutons.

Boil the pasta in salted water, drain and set aside. If desired, toss with olive oil or butter to keep from sticking.

A steel strainer filled with cooked penne pasta.

Tear bread apart into 1 inch size pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt.

Bake until browned and crunchy.

Pieces of torn bread drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

After the skillet has simmered for 10-15 minutes and reduced slightly, lower the heat to low. Add the cream and grated Parmesan cheese.

Creamy tomato sauce with ground sausage, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Give the cream and Parmesan a little stir, then add the pasta and toss to coat.

Penne pasta tossed in a tomato cream sauce in a skillet.

Serve the pasta with extra Parmesan and the crunch rustic croutons on top.

Pasta with vodka sauce and sausage in a skillet with rustic croutons.

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📖 Recipe

Bowl of pasta with vodka sauce, oregano, and croutons on top.

Spicy Sausage Squash Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Butternut squash vodka sauce with spicy Italian sausage, tossed with pasta and topped with homemade rustic croutons.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy sausage pasta, penne alla vodka with sausage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 465kcal
Author: Erin
Cost: $7


  • 12 ounces penne pasta, dry or other short cut pasta
  • ½ pound hot Italian ground sausage or mild
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash frozen or fresh; see recipe notes for substitutions
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup vodka any brand
  • 15 oz can, diced tomatoes or peeled whole tomatoes in juice, undrained, unseasoned
  • ½ cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 tablespoon oregeno fresh or dried

Rustic Croutons

  • Stale or leftover bread torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


You can substitute the butternut squash with sweet potato, winter squash, pumpkin, or a variety of other starchy, sweet root vegetables. Be sure to peel and rinse. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 433mg | Potassium: 691mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5449IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg
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Thursday 3rd of November 2022

I don't see the actual recipe?