Cook the Book – Three Sausage and Butternut Squash Sauce

I created this recipe for Curtis Custom Meats in Union, Maine several years ago.  We used to buy all of our meat from them, pre-the enormous freezer full of cuts of whole pig and cow from Terra Optima in Appleton.

This recipe makes a large pot of sauce – good for a big family dinner before or after Thanksgiving Day.  It also freezes well if you’ve a smaller group.  When I first created it, I thought I should cut it down to make it serve 4-6 people, but then all of the sausage comes in one pound pacakages.  So either you have all of these 1/2 pound bits of sausage, not to mention the 1/2 a butternut squash, or you’ve got your self a lot of sauce.  I went for the ‘lotta sauce’ knowing that everyone could use a dish that freezes well and cooks up in minutes for those crazy days when it’s either whatever you find in the freezer or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner.

Three Sausage and Butternut Squash Sauce

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hot sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
1 pound sweet sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
1 pound garlic sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
3 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh basil, or 2 tablespoons dried
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 cup red wine
6 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (or 2 16-ounce cans diced tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 500°.  Toss the squash with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 45 minutes or until the squash is cooked through (but not falling apart).  Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the sausages and sauté until they are lightly browned.  Add the onions, garlic, and seasonings and continue to cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the wine, tomatoes and salt; reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Add the squash and serve over your favorite pasta and garnish with the ricotta cheese and parsley.

Serves 12-16

Looking forward to a big family dinner

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Cook the Book – Roasted Mushroom and Artichoke Sauce

I love artichokes any way you cook them.  But this tangy, creamy sauce is one of my favorites.  When artichokes are on sale, I’ll get a bunch of them and serve this sauce on the boat for pasta night.  It used to be that I’d only serve one sauce, but then my energetic side got the better of me (coinciding with the girls getting a little older) and I now serve at least two, if not three sauces.  I know the list of ingredients is long, but really, they are all worth it.

Roasted Mushroom and Artichoke Sauce

1 pound whole, clean button mushrooms
Olive oil as needed
Salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed

2 fresh artichokes
Juice from one lemon

2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, diced
9 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock (or more)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded or one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons Marsala wine
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh, minced basil
2 teaspoons fresh, minced thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 450°. Place the mushrooms on a roasting pan; and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the mushrooms for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and slice the mushrooms. Set aside. Trim and cut the artichokes into eighths. Take the choke out with a spoon (that’s the fuzzy part). Fill a bowl with water and add the lemon juice and artichokes. Heat a large pot on medium-high heat. Melt the butter then add the onions, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium.  Cook, stirring frequently, until they are caramelized (20-30 minutes). Sprinkle the flour on top of the onions; stir for a minute or so. Add the chicken stock and stir vigorously. Add the tomatoes, Marsala, cream, herbs and reserved mushrooms and bring to simmer. Add the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the artichokes and cook until they are done, about 20 minutes. Serve on top of linguini or fettuccini and garnish with the Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6

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