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!

(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!

ONE YEAR AGO: Levain Bread with Caramelized Onions

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(Bewitching Kitchen)

pasta de sua preferência (usei gravatinha)
abóbora, cortada em pedaços
“fio”de azeite
folhas de salvia
1 / 2 sicara de ricota
rúcula fresca
raspas de 1/2 limao amarelo
sal e pimenta a gosto

Ligue o forno bem quente, espalhe os pedacos de abobora em uma assadeira em camada unica, regue com o fio de azeite,  tempere com sal e pimenta, espalhe um pouco de folhas frescas de sálvia sobre a abobora, misture um pouco para cobrir os pedacos com o oleo. Asse por 20 minutos, ate’ que a abobora fique macia  e comece a dourar.

Enquanto isso, ferva água salgada para cozinhar a massa. Em uma tigela grande, coloque a rucula e a ricota, amassando ligeiramente com um garfo.   Tempere com sal e pimenta. Quando a massa estiver cozida, reserve um pouco da água, em seguida, coloque a massa sobre a mistura de rucula e ricota,   misturando tudo muito bem. Adicione a abóbora, raspas de limão e um pouco da água do macarrão caso, a mistura esteja muito seca. Ajuste o tempero e sirva.


  1. Looks great!! just got her new cookbook “Seasons” at Costco for my daughter..it ..on first glance seems to have some great recipes..Sigh..might have to get it for myself!! Have you seen Dorie Greenspans new book? “From My French Kitchen” ( I think it is called said in bookstore and admired it the other day..another sigh!! Barb


  2. Your bag of squash pieces sounds like a dream come true! More years ago than I care to remember I spent a few weeks in Rome, where you could buy masses of freshly chopped vegetables at the market in the morning to make the minestrone soups and other dishes that you might want that day. Always seemed like such a sensible idea. I don’t know what the supermarkets do to the vegetables that they call ready-to-cook in this country, I think they chill them so much they dry out, but if you have a good source then you should take advantage of it. Love the idea of squash and sage, it’s making my mouth water… mmmmm🙂


  3. Sally, have you tried eating the skin?
    This is the first year I’ve managed to grow butternut squash and now have four sitting on tiles in my veg plot, waiting for frost to threaten before I bring them in. I’m hoping that like the “potimarrons”, of which I always have loads, the skin will be edible so I don’t have to risk my fingers!


    • I’ve had butternut with the skin on when it’s roasted, it doesn’t bother me, but as far as fingers go, it’s not just the peeling that I find dangerous, but the dicing.

      I am not very good with a knife in my hands, and have a few scars to prove it…😉


  4. To each his/her own -as they say. We become creatures of our environment. My dream winter squash is a gigantic orange Hubbard that lies on its side out in the garden, where it is even now developing that wonderful sweet nuttiness that only the warm days and slowly emerging frosty nights of autumn will deliver. That one single squash will probably be the source of at least 8, maybe more dinners or dishes – and one shall certainly be an adaption of your very beautiful creation.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Your Hubbard seems like a dream come true indeed! I keep saying that in my next life I want to be good at gardening. In the present life, there’s not much hope for me, I can kill almost anything, except mint, but apparently mint cannot be killed…


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