Could it be the one we harvested from our garden? Was it one from the farmer’s market, so perfectly shaped, with a shiny skin that gave me pause before putting a knife into it? No. The butternut squash of my dreams – and I hope you can stand the truth – was sold in plastic bags, uniformly cut, in a grocery store. Confession heals the soul, so now I feel good! 😉 I must explain, that since 1995 I’ve lived in a place devoid of food stores such as “Trader Joe’s” and “Whole Foods.” Although our “Native Roots Market” and “Forward Foods” are local delights, whenever our travels took us to a city blessed with TJs, we’d make a point to stop by and collect enough goodies to tide us over for a few months. However, fresh produce and planes don’t mix, so I had to “walk on by” all the tempting veggies and just look. Look, look and dream about how nice it would be to buy that cute bag of perfectly diced butternut squash, and enjoy its succulence without risking my fingertips. Here in LA we have 5 Trader Joe’s and 2 Whole Foods within driving distance, so when I spotted that little yellow bag I grabbed it and drove smiling all the way home …. beside the butternut squash of my dreams!
PASTA WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, ARUGULA AND RICOTTA
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by Donna Hay)
pasta of your choice
butternut squash, cut in chunks
drizzle of olive oil
a few sage leaves
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (full fat, please)
fresh arugula, preferably baby leaves
zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Turn your oven to 400F, open the bag of butternut squash, admire how nice each piece looks, and spread them all in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, season with salt and pepper, scatter a few fresh sage leaves over it, mix it all to coat all pieces with some oil, and roast for 20 minutes, until soft and starting to get brown at the edges.
Meanwhile, boil salted water to cook the pasta. In a large bowl, place the arugula and ricotta cheese, breaking it up with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. When the pasta is cooked, reserve some of the water, then place the pasta over the arugula/ricotta mixture, mixing it all very well. Add the butternut squash, lemon zest, and a little of the pasta water in case the mixture seems too dry. Adjust the seasoning, and serve.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Due to the constraints of our nano-kitchen, I search for all sorts of shortcuts when preparing dinner. Pasta sauces that don’t need much cooking are now my best friends. I got the inspiration from a cookbook that recently arrived in the mail: Donna Hay’s Off the Shelf. She only used ricotta and arugula, but butternut squash and sage sounded like a nice way to round out the pasta. As far as cheese goes, ricotta is light, so I recommend the full fat version.
A juicy grilled chicken breast was all we needed for a simple, satisfying dinner on a Tuesday evening after a busy day at work… Life is good!
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