This time of year (through the winter), butternut squash is at its peak. I like to use it as a side dish, or as a component of risotto, or–tonight–as a pasta main course.
This dish is buttery, sweet and subtly spicy, due to the addition of a touch of cinammon and nutmeg. Mainly, the rich flavor comes from the sweet, nutty squash.
The squash gets peeled, cubed and sauteed with olive oil and water until tender. A pinch of cinammon and nutmeg are added, as well as some broth. The pasta gets added, along with pasta water. The starch from the pasta, combined with the butter and spices, make for a complex, smooth and luxurious sauce.
Tonight, we had a very simple salad of delicate “salad bowl” lettuce, diced apples, goat cheese and candied walnuts–the perfect light, pre-thanksgiving meal.
Pasta with Butternut Squash
1 lb. rigatoni
3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1″ cubes
1 tbl olive oil
3 tbls water
1/8 tsp cinammon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c chicken broth
4 tbls butter
grated parmigiano for sprinkling
In a broad nonstick skillet, add squash, oil, water and a touch of salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium and cover. Saute for approximately 10 minutes or until tender, tossing and stirring every couple of minutes. Add butter, cinammon and nutmeg and taste for salt. Add broth and lower heat to a simmer, until pasta is cooked.
Add pasta and a 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid to the skillet with the squash. Saute bor approximately a minute, then toss with lots of grated cheese and serve.