Rigatoni with Sausage, Butternut Squash and Spinach

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 8 servings
  • Prep 5 mins
  • Cook 60 mins

The sweetness of butternut squash and the savoriness of sausage combines in a casserole kids will love.

Rigatoni with Sausage, Butternut Squash and Kale
Karry Hosford Photography

Everyone will love this casserole full of sausage, pasta, cheese and squash all rolled into one yummy dish, perfect for Halloween.


1 1/2 pounds (2 medium) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casings
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bunch spinach, washed, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
8 ounces uncooked rigatoni
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Additional cheese for topping (grated Pecorino Romano or mozzarella), optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Lightly oil a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  4. Toss together squash, olive oil, thyme, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, until squash is tender, but not mushy. Discard thyme.
  5. Place sausage and fennel seeds in a large Dutch oven; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to break up sausage, until meat is no longer pink. Remove sausage and drain most of oil. Return pan to stove; lower heat to medium. Add spinach and garlic; sauté until spinach is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Turn off heat and return sausage to pan.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 375F.
  7. Cook pasta in boiling water, 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain well. Toss with sausage mixture. Add squash, half-and-half, chicken broth and half the cheese. Gently toss. Place in prepared pan, top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. (If making in advance, allow mixture to come to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.)
  8. Bake 25 minutes, until thoroughly heated and crusty on top. Serve with additional cheese.

Recipe adapted with permission from Lauren Bank Deen’s Kitchen Playdates (Chronicle, 2007).



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