Sausage, Squash and Red Onions (and a side of Farro)

Sometimes the simplest meals are the best. I was reminded of that yesterday evening, when I was simmering elderberries with aromatics for elderberry syrup, a soothing medicinal. The elderberries had to infuse slowly, and that required tending.  

So what to fix for dinner? I had spicy Italian sausages in the refrigerator and butternut squash from the garden. And plump red onions in the basement bin.  In my world, that’s called dinner.

After prepping, all 3 went onto a sheet pan. Salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil was all it took to get it oven ready.

Paired with a side of farro, this was a satisfying supper.

Now you might not be crunched for time because you’re making “potions” like me, but there are times when you’re busy doing something and before you know it, tummies are rumbling and hungry. This easy meal checks all the boxes.

Oh, and talking about potions reminds me that Halloween is not far away. This dinner is a “spooktacular” choice for giving little, and big, goblins, lots of energy for trick or treating and partying. 

Sheet pan sausage with butternut and red onion

A riff on the trendy recipe for sausage with sweet potatoes, onions and bell pepper. 

Use recipe as a guide, nothing set in stone here.


1 to 1-1/2 pounds large link Italian or spicy fresh sausage – I used hot Italian

2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chunked up (or sub pumpkin or sweet potatoes), 4 cups or so

1 large red or other onion, sliced

Salt, pepper and olive oil

Optional: parsley, lemon wedges, goat or feta cheese 


Preheat oven to 400.

Lay squash in single layer on baking sheet.

Poke sausages and lay on top of squash.

Scatter onions on top.
Season, and drizzle oil all over.

Roast until sausage is done and squash is tender, 30 minutes or so.
Sprinkle with parsley and pass bowls of lemon and cheese


Farro, an ancient nutty tasting strain of wheat, is a good source of plant protein. 

There are several kinds: the 3 most common are whole, semi-pearled and pearled.

The difference is in the processing, called “pearling”. That determines how much of the grain’s husk has been removed. 

Whole farro is just that, a whole grain with entire husk and bran. It takes 50 minutes or so to cook.

Semi-pearled contains no husk and part of the bran is polished away, giving it slightly less nutrient value and milder flavor. It takes less time to cook, about 30 minutes or so.

Pearled farro is the most common with no husk and all bran polished away. It has less nutrients than the other 2 but cooks quickly, in about 15 minutes or so. 

Pasta method of cooking farro

Cook farro until al dente (taste as you go) in lots of salted, boiling water just like pasta.

This gives it room to cook without getting gummy. 

Delicious as is, but stir in some garlic, herbs, olive oil after draining.

A shower of parmesan or feta is pretty good, too.

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