Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage & Butternut Squash

An Instagram friend of mine posted this adorable Fusilli Corti Bucati pasta and I immediately was on the hunt for it. I did do an extensive search for it though and I was only able to locate it via Amazon. I’ve been told various locations across the U.S. carry it. A friend of mine knew I was looking for it and when I couldn’t locate it at any of my normal grocery stores, 5 boxes showed up on my doorstep. Thanks, Amazon!

These adorable little twisted spirals are basically a cylindrical narrow spaghetti tube that have an opening through the center of the pasta itself. The sauce winds up inside the tube as well as between the spirals. I love how this pasta absorbs the sauce to the maximum capacity. It makes it my pasta of choice.

Aren't these darling?
Aren’t these darling?

This recipe can be made many different ways: 1. using the standard recipe with the pork Italian sausage, and water making it a creamy lighter sauce, 2. using chicken sausage, 3. using a can of tomatoes to make it a tomato based sauce with little to no effort, and 4. using heavy cream. Let’s be honest here, Italian sausage whether it be mild or spicy packs all the seasoning effort with basically no work on your part.

I’ve opted to purchase the ground sausage already removed from the casing, cut butternut squash, so the only real work is grating the parmesan cheese, and chopping your arugula. Hello simplicity! This dish just gets better over time, too. What, leftovers? Sign me up!

In the below recipe and photos, I’ve used spicy chicken sausage and a can of tomatoes.  I just wanted to change it up a bit. I like having the freedom to toy with recipes and making them my own. No recipe is safe when I’m around!

Spicy Italian Sausage & Butternut Squash Pasta

Serves 4-6

  • 1 pound Fusilli Corti Bucati pasta
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups roughly chopped baby arugula (aka Rocket)
  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice (optional)*
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil (if not using tomatoes)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until just al dente. Drain well reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. You don’t need to reserve the pasta water if using the can of tomatoes or the heavy cream.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the sausage of your choice and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into bite sized pieces, until the sausage is cooked through. I don’t use oil in the pan here because there’s more than enough in the sausage.

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Add the diced squash to the pan and stir to combine. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water and season with salt.

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Using the wooden spoon, make sure all of the squash is submerged. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. I go through with a fork and mash the butternut squash once it’s tender.  (*If you’re using the canned tomatoes with juice, add them them here. Simmer for another 10 minutes until reduced.)  Add the cooked pasta and 3/4 cup parmesan. Stir vigorously to combine and thinning with pasta water as needed until the pasta is coated in a light and creamy sauce (*If using tomatoes you more than likely will not need pasta water here). If you wanted to add cream, you could use a quarter to a half a cup of heavy cream here instead of adding water. Just cook the cream about 5 minutes before proceeding.

Stir in the arugula and if you’re not using tomatoes or cream, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook just until the arugula is wilted. Serve topped with the remaining Parmesan.

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And voilà, ready to serve!

Spicy Chicken Sausage with Butternut Squash and Arugula

Simple, quick, and very little work for the flavor that’s packed into this recipe. The butternut squash provides a healthy way to make the pasta dish creamy, the spicy chicken sausage gives you the heat, the fennel seed in the sausage gives this dish such a warmth and unique depth, and the arugula gives it a peppery bite. It’s one way to change up your normal pasta dish.

I’d love to see what you come up with if you make this recipe, please use the #aroundtheworldineightygreys tag! I hope you enjoy it. It’s really too good to pass up! Bonne journée!

2 thoughts on “Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage & Butternut Squash

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