Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage and Rapini

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This is a hearty savory pasta bake with juicy bites of sausage, a creamy cheese sauce, hits of bitter from the greens and sweet bits from the roasted butternut squash.  It hits every taste bud in just the right way.  This is easy enough for family dinners and potlucks and special enough for a weeknight dinner party. 

I came into the butternut squash fan camp way late in life.  I am embarrassed to say – given my mantra to my kids, “at least try it before you say you don’t like it!” – that it wasn’t until last Fall that I discovered my extreme love of this roasted beauty.  I had assumed (and you know what they say about assuming …) butternut squash would taste like sweet potatoes, one of my culinary arch-nemeses. By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of purgatory!! I was wrong and am in the throes of making up for lost time.

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And here we go … Compost Cookies

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I told the boys I was starting this blog to create a family “recipe book” so that if I were to die in a firey ball tomorrow, at least there would be good food at the wake (hey, they’re 8 and 9 … they love that sort of talk).  They immediately went cross-eyed when I told them I would start with Pasta Fazool (pasta e fagiola for the purist).  “No! No!  If you die in a fiery ball, I want compost cookies!”  “Me, too! Me, too!”  I’m pretty sure I heard a mumbled “who likes beans anyway?” but I ignored that sacrilege and pulled out the mixer.

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