Thursday, October 30, 2008

Butternut Squash

One of my favorite things about this time of year is delicious fall food! After getting married and feeling more responsible for making healthful nutritious food than I had during singledom, I decided I needed to pay more attention to seasonal produce. Now the point is, nowadays you can get most produce year-round, but it make sense to me that produce would be at it's peak of flavor, and perhaps nutrition, at the time of year that it naturally grows as opposed to when it's growth is forced out of season. Whether or not that is true, here is what definitely is true: Produce is cheapest when it is in season. So I began to explore, and butternut squash jumped out at me!
There's something about butternut squash that makes me want to eat it. Maybe it's the nice shape and pink color of it's skin. Maybe it's the bright orange color of it's flesh. The flavor of butternut is mild, yet sweeter than pumpkin, and it is creamier than pumpkin--not so stringy. The following is a recipe I found that first fall. We loved it and have returned to it every fall since.

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, and Asparagus

3 C sliced shiitake or chanterelle mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T snipped fresh rosemary
1 T olive oil
1/3 C dry white wine
1/3 C vegetable broth
1/3 C heavy cream
¼ t. salt
8 ounces bow tie pasta
1 pound butternut squash, cut into ½- inch pieces (about 2 C.)
8 ounces asparagus, cut in 2-inch pieces (about 1 ½ C.)
1/3 C shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet cook and stir mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary in olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Stir in wine, broth, cream and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, about 4 minutes, or until sauce is the consistency of light cream and is reduced to 1 ½ C.

Meanwhile, in a large pot cook pasta according to package directions, adding the squash during the last 7 minutes of cooking, and adding the asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain, and return to warm pot. Add sauce and Parmesan cheese; toss to coat. Serves: 8

*You can see in my picture--we were a little low on "bow ties," so I mixed in some "spirals." If you want to substitute the white wine you may use broth. Look at how good this dish is to look at! Great color. By the way, this was also the first recipe that really helped me start enjoying mushrooms, another yummy fall treat.


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