Giada's Butternut Squash and Sausage Rigatoni Is So Delicious, Fans Make It All Year Long
There's nothing like having a warm and cozy meal on a crisp fall evening—that's why we're making comforting dinners that are packed full of seasonal ingredients like butternut squash, pumpkin and Brussels sprouts. And we're mixing in a handful of our favorite easy fall recipes as well, because dinner tastes even better when we're not exhausted from making it.
That's why a recipe like this Mezzi Rigatoni with Butternut Squash and Spicy Sausage from Giada De Laurentiis checks all of our boxes. The Giadzy, De Laurentiis's blog, posted the recipe on Instagram and called it a "fall staple," and it's easy to see why. This recipe requires just five ingredients (plus pantry staples like olive oil and salt) and is on the table in 18 minutes, so you can get a fresh and seasonal dinner on the table in no time at all.
For this recipe, you'll want to swing by the store and pick up mezzi rigatoni, spicy Italian sausage, butternut squash, Parmesan cheese and baby arugula. Mezzi rigatoni is a half-length version of rigatoni—you can find it at some grocery stores, like Walmart (buy it: $2), or replace it with your favorite tubular pasta.
To start the recipe, De Laurentiis boils salted water and cooks the pasta until al dente, saving one half cup of pasta water for the sauce. In a skillet, she heats two tablespoons of olive oil on high, then cooks the sausage in the skillet until cooked through, breaking the uncased sausage into bite-sized pieces. Then she adds the cubed butternut squash to the pan and stirs the sausage and squash together. When combined, she adds the reserved pasta water and a sprinkle of salt, lowering the heat to medium and simmering until the squash is tender—this should take about 10 minutes.
To finish off the dish, De Laurentiis adds the cooked pasta and ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese to the skillet and stirs to combine everything. Don't be gentle with your spoon, De Laurentiis advises. You want to break up some of the butternut squash as you go, which will add a little creaminess to the sauce. For her final touch, De Laurentiis stirs in two cups of chopped baby arugula and three tablespoons of olive oil, then cooks until the arugula is just wilted. She tops each serving with a little more grated Parmesan for a cheesy touch.
The recipe is a favorite for plenty of Giada's fans, who raved about the dish in the comments. "This is the best!," one commenter wrote. "I make this all year round because my family loves it so much." Another said their family eats the squash and sausage pasta "at least once a week" once cooler weather sets in.
One person mentioned that their go-to pasta dish is pretty similar, but with an even more fall-forward twist. "Instead of using arugula, I shred Brussels sprouts on top," one commenter wrote. Yum!
If you're looking for more butternut squash inspiration now that fall has arrived, we have some ideas for you—pasta dishes like our Butternut Squash Alfredo with Chicken & Spinach and Noodle-Less Butternut Squash Lasagna are cozy dinners that swap typical pasta for sliced or spiralized butternut squash, and we love this indulgent Whole-Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara with Butternut Squash that amps up the fall flavor even more with sage and bacon.
No matter how you prefer to add a little fall flavor to your dinner menu, we have more than a few ideas to get you started.