Tag Archives: winter squash

Winter Squash, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta

4 Nov

Butternut Squash and Spinach PastaButternut and other winter squashes are plentiful right now — and I think they are becoming increasingly popular, because I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for them. I love butternut squash, and so I’ll probably be featuring a few recipes for it myself this winter.

This one is adapted from a good food blog I follow called MediterrAsian, which focuses on Mediterranean and Asian foods.

The original recipe called for pumpkin, but I used butternut squash instead. I’m sure the squash or pumpkin tastes fine boiled with the pasta as the recipe directs, but I roasted it ahead of time instead of boiling it, and just put it in with the pasta for a minute to get hot. I also increased the amount of spinach a bit from the original.

You can buy peeled and cubed butternut squash at Trader Joe and other upscale groceries. It’s pricey, but it makes the process much easier.

I used tri-color penne. You can use plain or a similar shaped pasta such as rotini or ziti.

It tasted really good and we had enough left after dinner (for the two of us) for a lunch.

Ingredients:

6 oz. penne pasta
12 oz. pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ tsp. fresh rosemary, or ½ tsp. dried
3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve, optional

Directions:

Cook the pasta and pumpkin in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water for 8 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 3 Tbs. of the pasta water. You can start on some of the other steps while the pasta is cooking.

If the pine nuts aren’t already toasted, toast them in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned (shake the pan and watch them carefully so they don’t burn). Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet heat 2 Tbs. olive oil and cook the onion for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the pine nuts, salt, pepper, remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the 3 Tbs. of pasta water.

Toss the pasta and pumpkin with the spinach and onion mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 3 as a main course or 4 to 6 as a side dish

Delicata Squash

29 Oct
Delicata Squash photo by Elizabeth Wheeler

Creative Commons photo by Elizabeth Wheeler

We returned last week from a three-week vacation in Israel, with a three-day stop in Rome. We used up or gave away all our perishable food before we left and so we expected to come back to a cold and empty kitchen, but our daughter Hannah thoughtfully brought in some provisions for our return.

On our counter was a striped delicata squash, which I had seen in stores but never eaten. No need to peel it, Hannah said, just wash it, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and roast it.  So that’s what I did, though I cut each half in slices first.

It was delicious — and much easier to prepare than butternut or acorn squash. This is going to become a new favorite in our house.

Here’s how to cook it:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and dry the squash, then cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into slices about 3/4-inch thick, and put them on a greased baking pan (I used my handy olive-oil Misto to spray the pan). Drizzle with olive oil (or spritz again with the Misto). Sprinkle the delicata squashslices with kosher salt or sea salt.

Roast for about 10 or 15 minutes, than turn the slices over with a spatula and continue roasting for another 10 or 15 minutes. Turn again and continue roasting if necessary. Both sides of the slices should be golden brown and the squash should be soft.

If you are cooking something else at a lower temperature at the same time, the squash will roast just as well at a lower temperature — it will just take a little longer, maybe 45 minutes total.