It’s comforting to know that even celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis has trouble getting her daughter to eat vegetables.
So like any good cook, she throws sausage at the problem. “I’ve learned that whenever I add sausage to pasta or veggies, Jade will eat them, so I do it often, and as a result I have greatly expanded the variety of vegetables in rotation at our house,” she writes in her new book, Giada’s Italy, which hits shelves early next week.
She’s even found a way to serve butternut squash that gets the approval from her 9-year-old.
“Cooking the squash in the fat rendered from the sausage really deepens its flavor in a way that meat lovers will appreciate,” she says in the book. “Try it if you love squash, and if not, I still think this might change your mind about butternut squash.”
Give it a go whether or not you’re cooking for a pint-size picky eater!
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound Mezzi rigatoni
- 5 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound Spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 pound Butternut squash, peeled and cut in one-third-of-an-inch pieces
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 cups Roughly chopped baby arugula
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until al dente. Drain well, reserving half a cup of the pasta cooking water, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the diced squash to the skillet and stir to combine. Add one-and-a-half cups water and season with a quarter of a teaspoon salt. Make sure all of the squash is submerged, pushing it down with the wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta and three-quarters of a cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the skillet. Stir vigorously to combine, breaking up the squash a bit and thinning the mixture with the reserved pasta water as needed until the pasta is coated in a light and creamy sauce. Stir in the arugula and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cook just until the arugula is wilted, about 2 minutes. Top with the remaining quarter cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.
Reprinted from Giada’s Italy. Copyright © 2018 by GDL Foods Inc. Photographs by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.