At our house, we have a saying..."Don't yuk my yum!". We are trying to raise kids that aren't picky eaters by exposing them to many different kinds of food. It wasn't that long ago that one of my kids asked "Why can't you cook food like everyone else? Like tater tot hotdish?" The reason? It's not very healthy or creative and I think it's kind of gross. I don't cook like that. I like to use fresh, healthy ingredients to make great tasting good for you dishes. I've created this blog to share my favorite recipes with you.

Follow my kitchen adventures from using up vegetables from our weekly CSA box to baking and creative cooking.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roasted Squash with Pasta

I shared my love of Lynne Rossetto Kasper in a previous post.....she is a cooking goddess.  I try to listen to her radio show every Saturday at 2:00 and if I miss it, I listen to the podcast later.  I have learned a lot about cooking from her.  She always has great ideas about how to use up ingredients in the fridge and comes up with creative, delicious recipes.  I have her cookbook "How to Eat Supper" on my counter at all times, and refer to it frequently.  Along with delicious recipes, she also includes great stories about the history of using a certain food product or advice on alternate ways to cook things. 

I have an abundance of squash this fall and while they are mostly spaghetti squash, which I will post about another day, once I have perfected my recipe, butternut squash is my favorite.  Butternuts are the ones that are light brown in color and kind of long with one end skinny and the other fat.  Like most squash, they are hard to cut into, but with a little effort, they can be peeled, seeds scooped out and cut into small chunks for roasting.  Sometimes, you can even buy them in the store already cut into chunks, although they are probably more expensive that way and who knows what preservatives are on them.   

I have been making this recipe for a couple of years, probably since about 2009, when we first started getting our weekly CSA deliveries.  Squash is one of those items that I didn't have much experience with at first, but I have come to love it and have dragged my children kicking and screaming with me.  Along with using butternut squash, the recipe has a few added bonuses:  one, it is a great way to use up greens, which we always seem to have a lot of and two, it has fresh herbs in it, and you know how I love those

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens Over (Bow-Tie) Pasta
(From How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift)
3 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 big handfuls of washed, dried and chopped greens (Lynne recommends escarole or endive, but I use kale, spinach or chard)
1/3 tight packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn (I used my frozen stash)
16 large fresh sage leaves, torn
5 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (I used the jar of minced garlic)
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (careful, it could get spicy quickly!)
1 T. brown sugar
sat and pepper
1 pound pasta (Lynne recommends bow tie, we like radiadore or penne, you pick...something bite sized)
1/2 c. half and half (I have been using low fat evaporated milk with great results!)
1 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450, putting a large sheet pan in the oven to heat up as well.  Mix together squash, onions, greens, herbs, olive oil, red pepper flakes and brown sugar in a big bowl, salt and pepper generously.  When oven and pan are hot, carefully dump the veggies on the pan and spread out.  Bake for about 25 minutes, turning the veggies a few times.  Once the squash is tender, turn on the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the vegetables, watching closely so they don't burn.   Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta and cook until tender.  I like the pasta for this recipe to be pretty firm, otherwise it turns mushy with the squash.  Drain pasta.  Scrape vegetables and pasta into large bowl and add half and half and cheese, tossing to blend.  Serve with more cheese on top, if desired. 
The squash I used this time was huge, so I used two pans.  I plan to use the leftover squash as a pizza topping one of these days. You could also just make the roasted vegetables and serve them as a side dish for a holiday meal! 
One thing I do with this recipe to make it more weeknight-friendly is roast the vegetables on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and keep them in the fridge until later in the week.  I just heat them in the oven while the pasta is cooking and follow the recipe from there.  This recipe also reheats well and actually tastes better as leftovers.

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