I absolutely love fall. Okay, I absolutely love every season. At least something about every season. Yesterday, as I was driving, there was a slight breeze blowing the leaves up in to the air that had already fallen to the ground. They swirled and swirled. It was a clear, dry day here in the Northwest (which can be a rare occasion this time of year). It made me realize even more how much I love where I live. I love fall and the chill in the air and the perfect excuse to make comfort foods. Last week I tried a new comfort food, and it was a huge hit with my family.
I'm sure this dish isn't new to everyone...but it is the first time I've made it, though I made it with a bit of a fall twist. We have friends who own a dairy farm and every year they run a successful pumpkin patch. Every year, our oldest helps out at it and usually brings home several different pumpkins as well as a fun variety of squash. She LOVES butternut squash and so sure enough she came home with one and said "so mom, what are you going to make with it this year". Last year I made Butternut Squash Risotto which was so good! I didn't really feel like a soup. I just didn't know what I was going to make. Then a friend of mine gave me a recipe for a Shepherds Pie using none other than Butternut Squash. Oh boy, am I so glad I tried this recipe. It is going in my "make again" file.
2 1/2 lbs. Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, cut in to cubes
2 russet potatoes
5 tbs. butter
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. sweet italian sausage or ground beef (I used ground beef)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 8oz. pkg. fresh mushroom
3 cloves garlic minced
1 c. reduced sodium beef broth
14oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs. snipped fresh or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 c. frozen peas and carrots (mine had corn in it too)
shaved parmesan (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Coat a casserole dish or six 10-12 oz. ramekins. (I used a dutch oven).
2. In a large pan cook squash and potatoes in lightly salted water till tender. Drain. Mash with butter, parmesan, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet cook sausage (or beef) over medium high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Transfer meat to a colander. Drain well. Wipe out pan with a paper towel.
4. Return pan to stove and heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions. Stirring occasionally until tender. Add garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Stir tomatoes, broth, rosemary and worcestershire sauce. Bring to boiling, reduce to medium and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in meat, vegetables and remaining salt and pepper, cook 2 minutes. either divide mixture between ramekins or pour fully in to casserole. Spread top with butternut squash.
5. If using ramekins, place on baking sheet. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. If desired top with additional parmesan cheese.
With Joy UNquenchable,