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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cavatappi Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash

Winter has finally struck the New York City area!  I knew this was coming, we can't go a full year without a week or two of frigid temperatures.  I'm just going to say that I would have been perfectly fine if the temperature never dropped below freezing. 

I know my mom is reading this and saying "But you grew up in Buffalo!"  Yes I did.  I also went to grad school in Wisconsin and spent a year living in Colorado.  Yet, I moved to the coast and have since thawed.  No longer do I want to deal with minus twenty wind chills and three feet of snow on my car.  I no longer own a winter coat that resembles a down comforter with sleeves.  I don't want to wear two pairs of pants while I wait for the train to work.  If there were jobs for chemists in Florida, I would be there in a second!

January is almost at it's end and February in the Mid-Altantic region is a smattering of warm and cold days.  I just have to make it through two weeks of wind chill.  There is only one problem with these cold days.  Boyfriend and I are house hunting.

That's right, we are getting ready to put down some roots and stop paying the ridiculous rent on our current apartment.  It's exciting, overwhelming and scary all at once.  Our first major problem, we're not set on a location yet.  It's not as simple as, do we live in this neighborhood or the one next to it?  Our question is - Do we live in New York or New Jersey?

There are a million factors to take into account.  Boyfriend and I work in two different states, he drives, I commute via train.  New Jersey has high property taxes yet New York has those darned city taxes.  Brooklyn is so hip and cool, Jersey city is... well, I have no idea what Jersey city has to offer.  I've only been there a few times!

So, see all the issues we have to deal with!  Add in the fact that it's chilly out and we are spending our Sundays trekking all over the two cities looking at open houses, you've got two very chilly individuals.  Luckily we have a few months before we have to leave our current apartment, the weather can warm up before we have to move. 

I'll just be a little crazy for the next few months, what with the stalking the NYtimes real estate page for new listings.  During that time I plan on making lots of dinners like this.  Ones that make a ton of leftovers! 

Anyone out there recently buy a house and have some tips and tricks for us?  While Boyfriend has previously bought a condo in Buffalo, this will be our first place together and my first purchase (Hello Property Virgin!).  So much to do, will we ever find a place?

One Year Ago: Creamy Vegetable Soup
Two Years Ago: Chicken Curry

Cavatappi Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash
Adapted from Cooking Light

20 ounces butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Olive oil
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
8 ounces cavatappi pasta
4 links chicken sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped white onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup 2% milk
1 tsp all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp sage
1/2 cup blue cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 425 F.  On a large baking sheet, toss together butternut squash, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions. 

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook sausage until browned on both sides.  Transfer to a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan and add onion and garlic.  Stir and let saute for 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and stir to pick up the browned bits from the sausage.  In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, flour and sage.  Slowly add this to the saute pan, stirring continuously.  Let cook for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Add sauce to the sausage in the big bowl.

Once the pasta has cooked, drain it and add it to the large bowl.  When the squash is cooked, add it directly to the big bowl.  Stir all of the ingredients together.  In a small bowl, combine blue cheese, walnuts and dried cranberries.  Transfer pasta to a serving bowl and sprinkle with toppings.
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