Sunday, February 2, 2014

Easy/Fast: Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Pasta

This is one of our favorite weeknight meals.  It makes a fairly large pot of food (I think we get 8 pretty generous portions out of it - this will depend on how much squash you use) and it freezes beautifully.  It takes about 30 - 45 minutes from start to finish, depending on how fast you can cut up produce (if you don't buy pre-cut) and how mushy you like the squash cooked.

It is based off a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens but I have made a few substitutions to make it less hoity-toity  (Who can find pappardelle in their typical grocery??  And why Marsala instead of whatever dry red wine you have on had?  Pine nuts?? BHG, do you know how much pine nuts cost?? This is really uncharacteristically haughty for them.) and to change the flavor profile slightly (I like marjoram more than sage but I think dill, thyme, savory, rosemary, and pretty much anything else would work great too. 

Total time: 30-45 minutes  
  • 1 large butternut squash, or about 6c ready-cubed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp butter
  • 3Tbsp dry red wine
  • 1/2c water or chicken broth
  • 2/3c sunflower seeds
  • 1 lb "robust" pasta.  I like lasagna noodles.
  • 1 package (~ 4oz) blue cheese
  • fresh ground pepper
  • herbs to taste (e.g. 1/4 tsp marjoram)
Get your pasta water boiling in a large pot.

Start with a chopped large onion (this is pretty much the only thing I ever buy pre-cut - my eyes are apparently SUPER sensitive and I tear up so much I can't see to cut unless I take a break from the kitchen every minute! - I use at least 1 c of frozen, chopped onion) and some olive oil in a large sauce pan (you'll need to add 1lb of cooked pasta later - I prefer my cast iron dutch oven).  Cook over until the onion is soft and golden.  Then add the paprika (I haven't noticed much that it matters what kind).

While the onion is cooking, I generally peel, seed, and cut up my squash (so I cook my onion over pretty low heat).  Add the wine, water (or broth), butter, and squash, cover, and cook until the squash is tender (you can do this over fairly high heat since there is so much water).  This will take at least 10 minutes.  I like the squash pretty mushy so mine usually takes more toward 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cook your pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1/2c of the pasta water and then drain.  


Add sunflower seeds, blue cheese, pepper, and marjoram to the squash mixture and mix well.  If you haven't cooked your squash to mushiness, like me, then you might add some of the pasta water to help thicken the mixture - I have never needed to.  Then add the pasta and toss.  Enjoy!


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