One-sheet wonder: Delicata Squash and Italian Sausage Bake

You could use this recipe for batch cook purposes, or dinner party purposes, just saying.

You could use this recipe for batch cook purposes, or dinner party purposes, just saying

(Photography by Betty Binon)

Sheet pan meals have become known as batch cook superheroes, and this recipe fits that bill, but would you turn this down at a dinner party? Plus, it can be turned into a substantial vegan main simply by omitting the meat. Make this your fall go-to whatever your needs.

Delicata Squash and Italian Sausage Bake

A tomato paste mixture thickens the juices nicely in this recipe, and helps with caramelization. Use Italian style tomato paste from a tube to avoid opening a whole can of tomato paste.

*If you’re using lean sausages, toss the meat with an extra drizzle of olive oil before rolling, as they may dry out in baking.

Serve with crusty bread, pasta or polenta.


  • 1 delicata squash (about 16 to 20 oz)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, halved
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh sage leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ bunch rapini, woody ends trimmed
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 Italian turkey or pork sausages*, casing removed (about 1 lb)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • red fresh chili, thinly sliced (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. 

Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Slice into ¼-inch halfmoon slices.

Toss together the squash, fennel, garlic, sage, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper and fennel seeds and arrange them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the squash and fennel are tender and start to brown around the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Meanwhile, toss the rapini with the remaining oil and season with salt, pepper and chili flakes; set aside. Sir together the honey, balsamic vinegar and tomato paste; set aside. 

Roll the sausage meat into twenty meatballs. Add the rapini and meatballs to the baking sheet with the squash and fennel. Drizzle the balsamic mixture over top. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir,  and continue to bake until the meatballs are cooked through and the rapini is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes more. 

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, basil and fresh chili peppers over top.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

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