Friday, February 6, 2009

Butternut Squash with Creamy Pasta

Not sure when I'm going to do this week's new recipe, so here's one of the dishes I first made in January. It's from another of the Dairy cookbooks, called "Clever Cooking for One or Two." This recipe turned out to be one of my husband's favorites - he says he could eat it every week. (I like it too, though not that much.) Again, a nice comforting winter dish.

The Recipe: Butternut Squash with Creamy Pasta

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Half a butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into 0.75 inch chunks
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, cut into wedges, and leaves separated
  • 4 oz rigatoni or other short pasta
  • 2 oz frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp shaved parmesan
Serves 2

1) Toast the pine nuts: heat medium sized frying pan, add pine nuts, and stir over medium heat till browned. This only takes a few minutes - don't turn your back on them, and remove them from the pan as soon as they're done.

2) Heat the oil in the frying pan, add the sage leaves, squash, and onion, stir well in the oil, then cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes over a medium heat until squash is tender. Shake & stir the pan every so often.

3) Meanwhile, heat water in large saucepan for the pasta. Add pasta when boiling, and cook according to packet's instructions until just tender. After about 7 minutes add the frozen peas to the pasta pan.

4) When pasta is cooked, drain it, leaving a little water in the pan. Return the pasta back to the pan and add the creme fraiche, toasted pine nuts, and squash mixture, and stir gently. Season to taste.

5) Divide between two bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
  • I forgot to allow enough time for the pasta water to boil, so overcooked the squash a bit. But it still tasted nice.
  • Creme fraiche is a bit of an exotic item. If you can't get it, perhaps regular cream would do? (though it has a special taste - I can't describe it, nutty maybe?? - that would be missing. And supposedly it's healthier than cream).
  • In the official recipe they crisped up some whole sage leaves in the oil at the beginning, but that was just for garnish, and I didn't bother with it the second time round. (Lazy, huh?)
  • They also threw the pinenuts in with the squash mixture at the end, but I found they didn't brown properly, so did them separately at the beginning the next time. (Not so lazy.)
  • They suggest that, rather than frying the squash and onion, you could roast them at 350F for about 40 mins instead.

At beginning of step 2.

At the end of step 2 (slightly overcooked squash).
On the table. Sorry the picture is so murky. You can see why professional food photogs and stylists exist.

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