Things have been fairly crazy here in New York. With the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers have been left without electricity and running water. It's surreal to see images of my daily subway stations completely flooded to the brim and the East Village largely in ruins. My heart goes out to everyone who's been affected by the storm, many of whom are my friends and colleagues.

I am lucky to say that my little apartment in Williamsburg has withstood the storm and maintained power. I, however, skipped town before the MTA shut down Sunday night and have been hiding away at my childhood home in South Jersey. Here, I've been passing the time by writing, watching bad television, and eating lots of cheese.

This recipe yields a heaping bowl of warm, comfy happiness. It's so simple to throw together and bursts with deep, woodsy flavors. It's also fairly guilt-free. Quinoa pasta is something I've grown to favor over wheat; it's slightly nuttier in texture and packed with protein, leaving you satisfied but not comatose. This dish is enjoyed best while in your softest sweatpants, under a knit throw blanket, watching terribly wonderful reality television.

yields 4-6 servings
** Ingredients for this one are just an approximation. Adjust as desired. You really can't go wrong.

1 lb cubed butternut squash
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 box quinoa pasta (I use Ancient Harvest brand) 
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tbs fresh sage leaves, julienned 
1 bag baby spinach leaves
3 links chicken sausage, sliced into 1-inch rounds (I found organic apple chicken sausage at my market)
1 wedge asiago cheese, shredded
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Roasted Butternut Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
  2. Toss squash cubes in olive oil, brown sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Spread cubes evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until slightly golden and caramelized.

Caramelized Onions with Sage

Drizzle olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and saute diced onions, moving them around, for about 20-25 minutes until they reach a golden brown color. At the 10 minute mark, incorporate the julienned fresh sage leaves. Remove from heat and set aside when finished.

Everything Else
  1. Make quinoa pasta according to instructions on box.
  2. While pasta boils, cook the sliced pieces of chicken sausage in a pan with olive oil until golden brown and crispy. 
  3. In a separate pot, wilt the spinach down to half its size.
  4. Now's the time to incorporate everything. After draining the pasta, pour back into pot over medium-low heat. Drizzle some olive oil over the pasta and incorporate caramelized onion/ sage mixture, spinach, chicken sausage, a generous amount of asiago, a few healthy cracks of fresh black pepper, and finally the butternut squash.
  5. You're a rockstar. Enjoy your heaping bowl of awesome.
Allison S
10/31/2012 6:51pm

Oh wow, this looks amazing! Definitely going to try it out once I get settled in! Thanks for sharing.


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