Penne Pasta with Roasted Acorn Squash, Sweet Italian Sausage, Wilted Arugula and a White Wine Reduction

In the Fall and Winter months, squash is everywhere. And beyond the traditional carving pumpkin, there are some excellent varietals that can be transformed into fantastic soups, sides, gnocchi, and pasta dishes. Some of my favorite are Butternut squash, Acorn squash, and sugar pie pumpkin. Simply quartered, seeded, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then roasted until soft, these lovely squash take on a sweet, nutty flavor that is fantastic on its own or added to any dish.

I recently created this simple yet savory pasta dish with leftover Italian sausage and arugula I had in my fridge, and it was delicious. The sweetness of the roasted squash with the sausage was a perfect pairing, and the slight pepper from the arugula was a great addition. The white wine and chicken stock reduction keeps this dish light (and on the healthy side). Enjoy this excellent pasta dish throughout the cold Winter months!

Recipe: (makes 3 large or 4 medium servings)

1 acorn squash (or small butternut squash), quartered and seeds removed
olive oil          
4 links sweet/mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup of white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 bag (6-7oz) spinach or arugula
3 cups penne pasta
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped for garnish
grated Parmesan for garnish
sea salt & cracked pepper
toasted pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F; place quartered acorn squash on foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast 35 – 45 minutes or until fork tender, remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool remove skin from squash and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
In a large pot bring water to boil and add penne pasta, cook to al dente.  In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil, and add sausage to sauté pan using a spatula break up sausage into smaller pieces while browning. Sauté for 10 – 12 minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Remove sausage from pan onto paper towel lined plate.
Over medium heat in the same sauté pan add onion; sweat onions until soft about 7 minutes, add garlic and stir. Add white wine and scrape up brown bits while reducing down until almost dry. Add chicken stock and reduce by 2/3. Add squash to pan and remove from heat.
Drain penne pasta into a large bowl and add spinach; stir to wilt completely, add squash mixture, and sausage to bowl and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Plate pasta and garnish with parsley, Parmesan, and toasted pumpkin seeds.  


  1. Tried this recipe last night, and it was delish! I used whole wheat pasta instead, and it turned out fantastic. Such a simple recipe design, but so tasty. I love the toasted pumpkin seeds as a garnish! Nice job!

  2. Thanks for the feedback Amelia - this is a go-to favorite for a lot of my friends.