Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dinner With Friends Via The Internet

This whole world of social media seems to always get a ton of grief with all of its negative comments and opinions.  While I am tired of the lack of privacy, over-sharing, bullying, and the total distraction from the real world I am forever thankful for the wonderful things that can be shared.  

I often talk about my best girlfriends from high school as they are constantly inspiring me, supporting me and secretly (and not so secretly) trying to persuade me to move back to the east coast.  All five amazing women lead extremely busy lives and between juggling their kids, work, homes, and businesses it's often difficult to catch up over the phone.  Thankfully we are able to share our lives with each other over Facebook, Instagram and blogging.  

After I had recently posted a picture on Instagram of this spicy fall pasta, I instantly got a comment from one of the "Hershey Husbands" asking for the recipe.  While I really wish I could have dropped off some for dinner, sending the recipe was the next best thing.  I have to say I really enjoy having some east coast taste testers!

So even with its negativity, social media has enabled us to share our lives with each other whether it's a new business venture, pictures of their kids picking pumpkins or my foodie creations.  I'm thankful for it!

Spicy Sausage and Roasted Delicata Squash Pasta

1 pound spaghetti pasta
1-1/2 lbs spicy Italian sausage links, casing removed and roughly chopped
2-3 medium delicata squash, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (you can substitute with 1 medium acorn squash)
7 ounces fresh arugula
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon plus some for seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon plus some for seasoning pepper

In a medium skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the panko bread crumbs and cook, stirring continuously, until golden brown.  Add the thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Transfer the panko mixture to a small bowl.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl toss the chopped delicata squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place the prepared squash onto a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.

While the squash is baking, boil your water for the pasta in a large pot and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Strain the pasta and return the pasta to the pot.  Add the 3/4 cup of olive oil and lemon juice.  Toss to combine.

While the pasta is cooking, drizzle a small bit of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook until browned and cooked through.  Use a spatula to break up the sausage into small pieces.  Pour the sausage into the large pot of cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Add the delicata squash to the mixture and gently toss to combine.  

Place about 1/4 - 1/3 cup arugula onto each plate.  Divided evenly, place the pasta mixture over top and toss.  Top with the thyme panko bread crumbs and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.