Savory Root Vegetable Stew

I dunno about you, but I've got a plethora of root veggies here . . . my winter CSA share dropped a boat-load of squash on us and I've been clamoring for a way to use it all up, without getting sick of it.  To boot, D.'s not a huge squash fan - and 6 butternuts is a little much for even this veg-tastic mama.

Today's recipe uses 1 butternut, but if you double it (either for freezing or for entertaining), it'll use two.  Add to that onions, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprout, fennel . . . you have a vegetable-heavy winter stew that'll warm you up from the inside out . . . . And guess what?  A little spicy Italian sausage turned even D., the butternut-hater, into a big fan of this stew.

Savory Root Vegetable Stew (adapted from MarthaStewart.com)

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. hot Italian sausage (to lighten this up, use chicken or turkey sausage)
12 cipollini onions, peeled (to ease the process, soak them in warm water for 10 min., cut root end off and slip off skin)
1 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes (Pomi comes boxed, therefore no BPA)
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary, bundled with kitchen twine
1 (2 1/2 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
12 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 t. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until it breaks into small pieces and is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 T. of the rendered fat and discard.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5-6 minutes.  Add tomatoes, broth and herb bundle; simmer until liquid starts to thicken, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove the herb bundle and add the sausage, squash, carrots, parsnips and fennel; cover and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Add Brussels sprouts and cook, covered, about 5 minutes more.  Remove the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, 10-15 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4.