Cozy up for fall with this soul-warming dish that's chock-full of cavatelli, turkey sausage, butternut squash and spinach.
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1 small butternut squash, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (roughly 3 cups)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound cavatelli or casarecce pasta
1/2 to 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid
5 sweet Italian turkey sausages, removed from the casings
1 pound spinach, roughly chopped
1 (8.8-ounce) tub mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, plus whole leaves for garnish
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and softened. Remove and let cool until needed.
Bring a large stockpot of water up to boil. Season liberally with salt. Cook the pasta per the package directions or until almost al dente. It will continue to cook a little more in the sauce.
While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Place a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in a little olive oil. Add in the turkey sausage and break up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Cook until golden brown. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted, followed by the cooked squash. Add in the mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, sage and nutmeg. Mix together and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Add in the cooked pasta. If it still looks a little dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Toss to coat the pasta in the mixture, and let the flavors meld for 1 to 2 minutes.
To serve, place some pasta in a shallow bowl and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and a fresh sage leaf.