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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Mistakes are Tastier than Others

I've been having a lot of fun making pizza. Ever since my success with the Butternut Squash Pizza, I've been experimenting and creating new pizza topping combinations. One of my husband's favorites is Trader Joe's chicken sweet Italian sausage, sauteed with mushrooms and onions with sliced sun dried tomatoes added just before the cheese.
This is a great pizza.
I planned to make pizza today and put the dough together around noon. I cooked up the toppings in two different pans. One was the chicken sweet Italian sausage with onions and mushrooms. In the other pan, I sauteed cubed butternut squash, onions and sage leaves to duplicate the butternut squash pizzas I made before. Two deliciously different pizzas were to be on the menu tonight.
Alas, when I went to collect my dough I found that it was not alive. I always proof yeast, but today I was impatient. I thought, "Oh, it will be fine." and dumped it in without waiting for it to show signs of life. The resulting lump was smooth and glossy, but was neither pizza dough nor pasta dough. Sigh. It was a loss.
I called Mr. Dwayne into the kitchen and explained the options.
"We could cook up some pasta."
"We could go to Trader Joe's and get some pizza dough in a bag."
"We could get a Boboli crust."
He chose the pasta (quickest) option.
"Do you want it tossed with spaghetti or baked with a shapey pasta with cheese on top?"
Again, he chose the quickest option - Spaghetti.
So, I cooked the pasta and my two pizza toppings became one pasta sauce. This is a happy-making dish. I interrupted Mr. Dwayne's football viewing with any number of yummy noises. I think if I had intended to make this as a pasta sauce, I would have cooked everything together, but I really enjoyed that the squash remained sweet and infused with sage as opposed to soaking up all the sausage flavor, as the mushrooms did. When I make this sauce in the future, I will make the sauce components in two separate pans again.
Chicken Sausage and Butternut Squash Spaghetti
1 lb. Trader Joe's Chicken Sweet Italian Sausage
1 8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms
1 onion, sliced, divided use
4 cups cubed butternut squash
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
1 lb. spaghetti
grated Parmesan cheese to top
Heat two saute pans. Divide the olive oil, placing 1 tbsp. in the pan that will cook the sausages and 3 tbsp. in the pan that will cook the squash. Add one half of the sliced onion to each pan. Remove the casing from the sausage and crumble it into the pan with less oil. Allow to brown a little before adding the mushrooms. The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid. Let the sausage and mushroom mixture cook down until the moisture evaporates. Drain any excess oil. Set aside.
Add the butternut squash and sage to the second pan. Saute over a medium heat until the squash is soft. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Be sure to add a good tablespoon of salt to the pasta water. Drain the pasta.
Toss the hot pasta, the sausage mixture and the squash mixture together. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
This makes about 12 cups at 275 calories per cup. Cheese is extra.
PS. Trader Joe's chicken sweet Italian sausage also makes a fabulous addition to soup. I hate to make a soup this delicious a PS. but I thought it related because of the sausage and squash combo. This soup has the sausage, onions, carrots, celery, butternut squash, red potatoes and Swiss chard. All were sauteed with olive oil and simmered in chicken stock. Yum!

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