~ Dolomiti ~

I’ve published a lot of wonderful recipes on this website over the years, but quite frankly, this may be one of the best for its sheer versatility.  Depending upon how you want to present it,  this can be a primi, an antipasto, a contorni, or with crusty bread and some broccoli rabe, it can double as comforting entree!  Giving credit where credit is due,  I “liberated” this dish from Zero Otto Nove, a wonderful Trattoria in New York.  Although I know the chef, I and always shy about asking for secret recipes, but after eating this several times, I think I’ve reverse engineered it fairly well.  

Zucca e Salsicce

16-20 ounces diced butternut squash
6-8 ounces gorgonzola
1 pound, crumbled sweet sausage
3 sprigs Rosemary
2 pats butter
Radicchio Leaves (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Cracked Black Pepper 

Start by browning the sausage in about a teaspoon of olive oil until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Reserve sausage to a bowl.  You are now free to clean the frying pan! 

~  This is the sausage browning.  What I love about this recipe is that it lends itself to easy clean up and to being made in advance. The more it sits when it finishes, the better the flavors meld. ~

Next, boil a pot of water large enough to hold the cut up squash.  Do not salt the water.  Once the water boils,  add the squash and boil until the cubes are easily pierced with a knife or fork, about 10 minutes depending upon how large the cubes are.  This time of year, the market always has cubed squash available for sale and that’s what I used here.  

~ Gorgeous squash.  This was just over 20 ounces ~

Once the squash is done, drain to a colander. Wipe the pot carefully with a paper towel and drizzle about 1/4 cup of olive oil into the pot.  Return the pot to the heat, (very low flame) add the pats of butter and return the squash to the pot.  Mash with a potato masher.  Do not add milk or salt. Resist the urge!  They will mash quickly.   Once you’re done with this step,  add the sausage, rosemary and gorgonzola, and stir through completely.  Remove from the heat and cover.   You’re basically finished and as I said above, this can be done hours ahead of time. 

~ This is the squash in the pot once everything has mixed through.  You can see the consistency you’re after.  Use the gorgonzola sparingly.  Despite all the savory ingredients in the dish, it should still be about the squash ~

When you’re ready to serve, season to taste with black pepper and warm through.  If serving as an antipasto or first course,  put radicchio leaves on a plate so that they face up like a “bowl” and fill with the squash.  Recently, we just served as a contorni.  

~ This is finished squash in a serving bowl.  You can see it darkened slightly after sitting a few hours with the sausage meat.  This is a recipe where almost every bite is a little different, and again, with the sausage and the cheese included, I used no salt. ~

What to drink with this?  I love it with a ripasso, or something like Allegrini’s La Grola or Palazzo della Torre.  If making it into an entree, you could easily match with a Chianti Classico or Dolcetto.


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