Although I try really hard to plan my menus in advance, it is more often than not that I am missing just one key ingredient for whatever I am craving.  It’s kind of frustrating because most days I am car-less (Eric and I share) so I can’t just run to the store whenever I want.  Fortunately I have a wonderful and long-suffering husband (or at least one who likes my food enough to make sacrifices) who is always willing to run to the store on his way home from work.  I wanted to make this recipe a while back, but was missing a banana squash. This is what he came home with:

Can you see that giant specimen?  Maybe I don’t know much about squash (okay, nothing) but I swear I have never even seen one of those.  It is hard as a rock on the outside, like a butternut squash.  I checked the receipt and it said it was an acorn squash.

So we had a little less colorful dinner, no big deal.  I even looked up a recipe to use the squash later.  What else was I going to do with it?

Enter mother in law.  Kris took one look at it and said That’s not an acorn squash, it’s a spaghetti squash. What the heck? Another squash that I’ve never even heard of??  Sure enough, she was right.  It’s called a spaghetti squash because the insides look like spaghetti, apparently.

I wouldn’t know, because here we are weeks later and I obviously haven’t touched it.  Call me squeamish, but the idea of spaghetti squash just doesn’t make me lick my lips.

This Italian dish is to die for.  It seems pretty standard–pasta, sausage, tomatoes–but somehow it manages to overcome “ho-hum-pasta”-ness.  What?

Italian Sausage with Tomatoes and Penne
Source: My friend Becky, who got it from Betty Crocker

3 cups (9 oz) uncooked penne pasta (I didn’t have any so I used rigatoni)
1 pound uncooked Italian sausage links
1/2 cup beef broth (I used bullion)
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves (use fresh if you can, it makes it)
6 green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, cut sausage crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. (or form little “meatballs” from bulk sausage like I did.)  Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage; stir-fry 4 to 6 minutes or until brown. Stir in broth. Cover and cook over medium heat 5 minutes.

Stir in squash, tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in onions. Simmer uncovered 1 minute.

Toss pasta, oil and remaining 2 tablespoons basil. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with sausage mixture.