I just ran across this goofy picture of my daughter taken on Christmas Eve as we prepared our holiday feast in her NYC apartment: She had a recipe for a squash and kale dish that was absolutely delicious and the colors of which really enlivened the plate. Wish I had it to include here.
Anyway, Mr. D and I have been fiddling with a recipe from the February issue of Country Living, our version of which is as follows:
2 butternut squash (as in the picture above — smile) peeled, seeded, cubed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound penne or rigatoni
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk
3 cups (about 12 ounces) of fontina cheese
4 tablespoons of fresh sage or 5 teaspoons or so of dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
panko crumbs to cover casserole — about 1 cup
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Toss squash, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic together on a large, heavy cookie sheet and place in preheated oven on the top rack until the squash is tender, the timing of which will depend on whether you use convection and the size of your cubes, but certainly not more than an hour and probably less. Remove and let cool. Then lower the heat to 350 degrees.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
4. Puree squash in a blender or food processor (or just smash with a potato masher if you don’t want to bother with getting out the appliances). You might want to reserve some in its cubed form as we do.
5. Add the milk until the consistency feels saucy — which will depend on how much you pureed the squash and what texture you like — we prefer it a bit lumpy rather than soupy, especially as we double the squash in relation to the pasta.
6. Brush a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with the remaining olive oil.
7. Toss the pasta, squash, squash “sauce”, sage, salt and pepper and two cups of the cheese in a bowl and arrange in the baking pan.
8. Combine the remaining cheese and the panko crumbs and sprinkle on the top.
9. Bake until bubbly, with cheese melted and crumbs lightly browned on top.
10. EAT! Excellent with a green salad and some garlic bread, and of course some wine 🙂
Here’s their pic of the finished product:
For another interesting thing to do with butternut squash — the perfect winter comfort food, check out the New York Times website video of this Mark Bittman/ Mario Battali preparation of fresh gnocchi with butternut squash. OMG. So amazing and on the menu for this weekend.