You know it’s winter in our home when the chief cook (me) turns to all forms of comfort food. We have hearty soups and stews and when we have pasta it’s often with vegetables that are plentiful in the grocery store. I’m talking root vegetables, onions, carrots, pumpkin and beans. And usually these vegetables leave a smaller carbon footprint!
1 large butternut squash (2 3/4lb – 3 1/4lb or 1 3/4 lb of ready-cubed (6 cups)
1 large onion finely chopped
2 TBS olive oil
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 TBS unsalted butter
3 TBS Marsala
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup pine nuts
1 lb of pappardelle or rigatoni
6 fresh sage leaves
5 oz of soft blue cheese
Cut the butternut squash into 1″ cubes. Cook onion in olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan that can accomodate the pasta later – I would use my braising pan. When the onion turns golden, add the paprika.
Stir butter and squash into the onion mixture. Add Marsala and water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender but holds its shape.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boiling, add a hefty pinch of salt. Cook according to package directions. Toast the pine nuts in a hot dry frying pan on the stove top until dark gold. Pour them into a bowl or onto a plate to cool.
Lightly season season squash mixture to taste with salt ( the blue cheese will add additonal saltiness). Remove from heat.
Finely chop the sage; Sprinkle over the squash, reserving some for serving.
Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water; drain pasta and add to the squash mixture. Gently stir to combine. If sauce is too dry or mixture won’t come together, add some of the reserved pasta water; the starch encourages the sauce to emulsify and cling to the pasta. Stir in most of the pine nut and the blue cheese. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining sage, pine nuts and cheese.
Recipe from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson, featured Better Homes And Gardens, October 2010