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Winter Squash & Kale Ragu

This is a no frills no fuss kind of recipe that is delicious. Chris told me that was all I needed to say and not to overthink these things. Having forced him to eat this for a week straight at this point, I think he is allowed an opinion. Except I really need to share my latest discovery and obsession because they were the inspiration for the ragù recipe and will be making regular appearances this winter.

Hudson Valley Harvest, founded in 2011, is a company dedicated to helping farmers expand their reach beyond the farmers market to large-scale buyers like restaurants, schools and other institutions.  To do this they provide local farmers with the processing and packaging facilities to turn surplus produce into value-added and shelf-stable products which means a little extra (and often much needed) income for farmers and their families. The package labels even tell you exactly where the produce was grown and how many miles it traveled to be packaged (usually under 20). Oh and the BEST part of all this is that you can find these babies at Whole Foods and Fresh Direct!

Winter Squash & Kale Ragu


4-6 servings


2 tbl oil

8 oz spicy sausage or ground turkey*

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz (about 2 cups) kale, chopped (I like frozen because it is already steamed and chopped)

2-3 tbl fresh sage, minced

1 cup white wine (or ¼ cup vinegar ¾ cup water)

1 cup tomato puree

2 cups butternut squash or pumpkin puree

2-3 cups pasta water, stock or water

1 lb pasta (i like gemelli but use your favorite)

salt and pepper

Parmesan for serving


Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large sauté pan and remove the sausage from its casing, breaking it up into pieces. Add the sausage to the hot pan, breaking up any big clumps and stirring occasionally.

Once the meat has some color and it mostly cooked through (5 minutes or so) add the onion and garlic to the pan, seasoning everything with a generous amount of salt. Cook until the onions are translucent (another 5-7 minutes) then add the kale and sage. If you are using frozen kale, cook until totally thawed, if using fresh kale, cover the pan to help create some steam and cook until the kale is tender - both will take about 5 minutes. Season again with salt and some pepper.

Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping the bottom to get any stubborn bits unstuck.

Stir in the tomato and squash purees and turn the heat down while you cook the pasta.

Season your pasta water and cook pasta according to package instructions.

Ladle some pasta water into your ragù - as much or as little as you like depending on how thick you want the sauce (i like it nice and thick, a hearty stew consistency).

Taste the sauce for seasoning, it will likely need salt and probably some pepper too.

Drain the pasta and add it to the ragù. Serve hot with some freshly grated Parmesan.



*I like using a spicy pork or lamb sausage because they are more flavorful than ground turkey and they stay in bigger chunks which i can fish out later when picking at the leftovers - use less oil in the pan if using sausage as the fat in them renders out nicely coating the pan, ground turkey is usually quite lean so it will require more oil to start with. Also note that the meat is totally optional as this makes a deliciously hearty vegetarian/vegan dish as well.

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