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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After the skillet has simmered for 10-15 minutes and reduced slightly, lower the heat to low. Add the cream and grated Parmesan cheese.
Give the cream and Parmesan a little stir, then add the pasta and toss to coat.
Serve the pasta with extra Parmesan and the crunch rustic croutons on top.
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Spicy Sausage Squash Pasta with Vodka Sauce
- 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 tbsp oregeno fresh or dried
- Stale or leftover bread torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste