Inspired by some local sweet "Italian" sausage we'd picked up at the farmer's market and some winter squash from the garden, I pulled onions, some dried sage and of course maple sugar from the pantry and began cooking. I tend to cook on the fly, and well, this was one of those recipes. I can't give you any exact measurements - but a rough ingredients list is below. It just kind of came together, a wonderful hearty blend of sweet and savory that was too good not to share.
The flavors are bold and warm. It's a quick and wonderful dish for a cool fall day. Give it a try and make it your own - I'm sure you could easily substitute pure maple syrup for maple sugar.
The Rough Recipe:
2 Sweet Italian Sausage
Granulated Maple Sugar
1 Box Pasta (Bow Ties)
2 Small Winter Squash thinly sliced
8 Whole Dried Sage Leaves Crushed
1 Cup Apple Cider
Salt and Pepper To Taste
To start, place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Slice the sausages into 1/2" rounds and lightly sprinkled with maple sugar. Cook on medium heat in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Removed the sausage and added the onions to caramelize. To speed the process add a bit of maple sugar to them. Cook about 10 minutes or until suitably caramelized.
While the onions are cooking add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. When the pasta is nearly done (with 3 or 4 minutes left to cook) add the sliced winter squash. When pasta is cooked, drain the squash and pasta.
Finally, add a bit of apple cider to the onions to deglaze the pan. Then almost immediately add a bit of the dried sage and let the cider reduce for a few minutes. Then return the sausage pieces to the pan, as well as any of the squash that need longer to cook. Finally, add the remaining squash and pasta to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, mix throughly, and serve.