Penne with Kale, Butternut Squash and Sausage Recipe

Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage (optional)
  • 1 large bunch kale (about 8-10 cups), stems removed, and leaves roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  • Large pot
  • Large skillet or Dutch oven
  • Colander


  • Prep the squash: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the butternut squash cubes with a drizzle of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and slightly browned.
  • Cook the pasta: While the squash roasts, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before setting aside.
  • Brown the sausage: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break it up with a spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pan.
  • Sauté the kale and garlic: Add the kale to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Combine and simmer: Add the roasted butternut squash, cooked sausage, chicken broth, remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, and optional sage to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  • Finish and serve: Add the cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese to the skillet. Toss to combine, adding some of the reserved pasta water to create a creamy sauce if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese for garnish.


  • Variations: Use a different type of pasta, like rigatoni or fusilli. Substitute Swiss chard or spinach for the kale. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. For a vegetarian version, omit the sausage and add more vegetables.
  • Make-ahead: You can roast the butternut squash and cook the sausage a day in advance.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Enjoy this flavorful and satisfying pasta dish!


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