These past few days I worked to update some old blog posts, and you guys, I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: what a bunch of garbage. Seriously, for any of you who have checked in on this space since the beginning, thank you. Because that entire first year…whoo boy, not so good.
You live. You learn. You keep going or you stop. I often want to stop but I keep going anyway.
Sometimes that “keep going” part can feel like you are not really getting anywhere. Or sheer wonder how you could have done so much but still have so much to do. It’s as if the to-do list grows the more knowledge you gain, instead of the other way around.
I’ve tried to say no to more and yes to less this year, but it’s been a bit of challenge. I don’t really feel like I suffer from a fear of missing out, but I do feel like I can never quite wrangle my time just right.
Sometimes when I sit down to do the work that is not outwardly productive – like cooking a dish or publishing a blog post – it seems like I am not gaining much headway.
I have to remind myself that pulling back to take stock helps build a foundation for things that will take me farther in the long run. It’s difficult to remember that with the world blazing on by and absolutely no guarantees of success.
Autumn always seems like a good time for this kind of introspection. When the calendar flipped to October last week, I let summer go and finally welcomed fall.
Then the past few days were so hot and muggy that yesterday I told a friend who asked how I was doing that I was just hot and angry.
To simmer down, I sat in the A/C and caught up on some reading. I loved this article on productivity as the seasons shift. We eat seasonally. We dress seasonally.
Why don’t we adjust our goals to sync with the seasons? In that article is a simple list of seven autumn basics that I am also on board with, particularly more reading, more hiking, and more reflection.
My list also includes more cooking and more baking, and I’m starting with a hearty skillet meal. It takes a few steps to get it all done, but it’s worth it in the end. Sounds like there is a lesson there. Enjoy!
Sausage, Gnocchi, and Squash Skillet
Yield 4 servings
1 pound ground sausage
4 tablespoons butter
16 fresh sage leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2- 2 cups chicken stock
1 pound gnocchi
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Next add the butter to the hot cast-iron skillet. Add the sage to the melted butter and cook until crispy, about 2-5 minutes. Transfer the sage to a separated paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Now add the garlic to the still-hot cast-iron skillet. Stir until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, then add the butternut squash and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the white wine to the skillet with the squash and cook, stirring often, until the liquid starts to reduce, about 1-2 minutes.
- Next add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the stock (depending on how much sauce you want), and bring to a boil.
- Add the sausage back to the skillet and transfer the entire dish to an oven heated to 475 degrees.
- Roast until the squash is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Near the end of the roasting time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook!
- Drain the gnocchi and add to the skillet with the squash and sausage.
- Top with the crisped sage leaves and top with grated cheese for serving.
Instead of a whole butternut squash, I bought a 32-ounce package of peeled and cubed squash and used about 2/3 of it for this recipe.