I am one of those people who like to mix their food together. Well, not actually mix it together, but I like that one perfect bite on my fork. A little taste of each thing on my plate in one mouthful. You know, a little bite of corn with my mashed potatoes or a small piece of steak in the same bite as my salad. Yum and yum.
My husband, however, is not a fan of this way of thinking. He doesn't like eating the different components of his meal together. That's why he's also not a huge fan of casseroles. Everything's all mixed up right off the bat. Shepherd's Pie falls into the casserole category and that's why I almost never make it. When I saw this recipe in a magazine, I knew right away that I wanted to make it after reading the ingredients...I just had to figure out a way to sell it to my husband.
So, the night I decided to prepare it, I busied myself with the prep, not involving him in the "what's for dinner" decision. I knew he'd shoot it down if I even mentioned the words shepherd's pie. I was just sliding the dish into the oven when he finally asked what we were having, and by then we were past the point of no return. He couldn't argue his case for something else. Success!
The verdict? He said it was "a little weird", but he ate every bite and went back for seconds. I LOVED it. It gave me forkful after forkful of "perfect bites". My kind of comforting, hearty, rich and delicious meal!
- 2½ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 5 tbsp butter, softened
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 lb bulk sausage (I used plain sausage, but italian sausage would be great, too.)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup beef broth (I used reduced sodium broth)
- 1½ cups crushed tomatoes (about half of a 28 oz can)
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- Preheat your oven to 425°. Grease a 9 x 11 glass baking dish (or 6 individual casserole dishes).
- Boil squash in salted water, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Mash the squash with the butter, parmesan, ½ tsp of the salt and ¼ tsp of the pepper. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook the sausgae until no longer pink. Drain the grease and set aside. In the same pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in the broth, crushed tomatoes, rosemary, and worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sausage, peas and carrots and remaining ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Spread the mixture into the greased dish(es). Spread the butternut squash over the top(s).
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Top with additional parmesan, if desired.
- Source: Better Homes and Gardens magazine.