Penne alla Vodka gets a healthy make over! With Spaghetti squash substituting for the penne, a significant reduction in the amount of heavy cream, and the addition of sausage, kale, pine nuts and asiago cheese, these boats are comforting and delicious without sacrificing flavor!
Cook the Spaghetti Squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Drizzle, or use a pastry brush to apply olive oil to the flesh (insides) of the spaghetti squash. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Transfer squash, cut side DOWN, to prepared baking sheet. Roast in the oven until easily pierced with a fork and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. When cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape strands from the skin of spaghetti squash. Set aside.
Meanwhile, Make the Vodka-Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add in the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic, tomato paste, crushed red pepper, ¼ tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. CAREFULLY add in the vodka and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the roasted red peppers. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use an immersion blender, or transfer to a stand blender, and puree until smooth. (If using a stand blender, transfer back to sauce pan). Add in the heavy cream and cook until warmed and incorporated, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
And, Cook the Sausage: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown, stirring occasionally and breaking up into pieces, about 3-4 minutes.
Add in the Kale and season with ½ tsp of each, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté another 3-4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
To Serve: Transfer the empty large skillet with sausage drippings back to the stove over medium-low heat. Add in the spaghetti squash strands, sausage mixture and pour in sauce. Toss to coat. Heat until warmed throughout. Divide spaghetti squash between bowls or empty squash boats. Top with pine nuts and asiago*. Serve and Enjoy!
*Optional: Place stuffed squash boats on an aluminum lined sheet pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.