What’s for Dinner?

The contenders that evening were acorn squash, spicy Italian sausage, and labneh (yogurt cheese, previously used in The Funky Kitchen as a tortellini filling. If you haven’t tried it, you should!).

What would you make with the above as required ingredients?

I fell back on my favorite dinner making solutions: spaghetti. The spicy savory elements from the sausage along with the creamy bite of the labneh and the sweet buttery flavors of the roasted squash made for a really nicely balanced dinner. The leftovers made for a tasty lunch the next day too!

Here’s how I did it:

Spaghetti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Acorn Squash and Labneh

Ingredients

1/2 an acorn squash

1 tsp thyme leaves

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

3 spicy Italian sausages

1 small onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

3/4 cup labneh

1/2 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions
  • Remove the seeds and pulp from the squash and peel it. Dice the squash and toss it with the thyme, olive oil salt and pepper. Roast it in a 400° oven until soft and beginning to brown (~30 minutes).
  • While the squash is roasting, remove the sausages from their casings and brown the meat in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the fat from the sausages has begun to render out, add the onion and garlic. Stir this mixture often because it is prone to sticking. Continue to cook until the onion, as well as the meat, is caramelized and brown.
  • Prepare the spaghetti as required, reserving 3/4 Cup of the pasta water.
  • Stir the pasta water into the labneh to thin it down.
  • Return the spaghetti to the pot  over low heat and add the labneh and water mixture. Toss until the labneh sauce tightens up on the pasta.
  • Add the sausage mixture as well as the roasted squash to the pot, and continue to toss until everything is well distributed and sauced.
  • Serve immediately.

Peeling raw acorn squash was very tedious and difficult. Hindsight suggests that it might be worth your while just to roast it and then remove the skin and cut it into pieces. There won’t be as much surface area to get lovely and golden and roasted, but it would save a considerable amount of time.

The sausage I used in preparing this pasta did not render out very much fat. If the sausage you use does render a fair bit I would drain it away before adding the sausage mixture to the pasta because it could render your dinner rather greasy.

My mister rates this spaghetti: very remakeable

9 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner?

  1. I’ve actually never even heard of labneh, but if its a cheese, I am all over it! Yep, I find peeling squashes too difficult, so I roast them, let them cool, then put them in the fridge overnight. I am then able to scoop out most of the squash whole, and then dice it.

    Love your rating system! My husband usually says “this should stay on the menu” or “this didn’t make the menu!”

    • Labneh is pretty much a cheese; it’s yogurt that has been strained until it’s thick and creamy like a ricotta or a mascarpone. Think Greek style yogurt but only more so.

      I discovered it in the supermarket when I was looking for ricotta but couldn’t find any, and I am so happy that I did. It’s tangy and creamy and amazing, which is why it has been finding its way into so many items at our house.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. i’ve never tried tossing squash into a spaghetti dish, but it’s an idea that i like. and anything involving sausage and cheese is welcome in my belly, period. :)

  3. Giada does a similar dish with goat cheese and butternut squash and onions. Yum!!! Maybe this is how I can use up my chirizo tonight!

  4. I love to discover new uses for labneh! In Lebanese tradition, we make it at home (it is very simple) and eat it for breakfast with pita bread and tomatoes and olives. What a splendid idea you had and I will experiment with it.

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