Thursday, December 8, 2011

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Inspired by this delectable sounding sauce, I decided to try my hand at using a butternut squash as a quick marinara sauce alternative.  Butternuts are highly contested in our household -- one of us finds them too sweet often raising a brow when it lands on the table, while the other of us loves it. As the cook, I have probably not disguised who is who whatsoever!  I still sneak into the rotation, roasting it with other vegetables like this, or masking it with other great flavors.  On this night, there was no masking....we had butternut squash pasta sauce for dinner.  Unsurprisingly, half of us enjoyed it.

I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 on the flavor scale.  More importantly, I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5 for ease of preparation.  And lets be honest, mid-week, sometimes ease outweighs all else.

Next time, I would consider more onion or a roasted red pepper.  Do you have a favorite quick sauce recipe? I'd love to hear it in the comments section.

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
  • 1 large butternut squash, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1.5 teaspoons crushed red pepper 
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, skin intact
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pasta of your choice + 2/3 of a cup of reserved pasta water
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Toss the onion, squash and garlic with olive oil in a roasting pan
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the crushed red pepper and roast for 30-35 minutes, until browned 
  • Meanwhile, prepare the pasta reserving 2/3rds a cup of pasta water*
  • Remove the pan from the oven, separate the skin from the squash and garlic
  • Blend the squash, onion, garlic and parmesan until mixed in a food processor or blender.  In 1/3 cup increments, blend in the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired sauce consistency
  • Toss with the pasta, sprinkle with additional cheese and enjoy

*I often throw sturdy green vegetables into my cooking pasta with 1-2 minutes to go. Brocolli and green beans stand up well and add color and nutrients to the plate.

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