Its no secret that I am a huge fan of the squash family. As we hit the Atlanta Farmers' Market every other weekend, I can't wait to get to that aisle. I guess one of the biggest reason I love squashes is that they're so versatile. They can be used in soups, koftas, purees, koottus, saambaars, sauces and pies among many others. Heck, people even make pastas out of them!
N, on the other hand is not a big fan of the family. She cares about squashes as much as I care about Hugh Grant and chick flicks. She that they're vapid and slimy. She thinks that every squash tastes the same. I retort by saying that she is confusing squashes with Hugh Grant's movies ;) I guess I'm entering dangerous territory now so I'd better stop!
No big story here...we typically experiment with pastas. We tried this on a whim and it turned out pretty good.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1 large (or 2 medium) large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 large red bell peppers, cubed
1/3 c parmesan cheese
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente as per instructions
salt, to taste
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp sage (I used dry, crushed sage)
1. Heat oven to 400F. Take the olive oil in a small bowl and place it in the middle rack while its preheating.
2. When the oil is hot enough (the viscosity goes down quite a bit), immediately pour it on the squash and red bell pepper cubes, placed in separate bowls. I use this trick often to use less oil to coat the veggies. Add the salt, paprika and the sage and toss the veggies.
4. Get started with the pasta.
3. Put the butternut squash cubes on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with aluminum foil/parchment paper) on the middle rack. Cook until fork tender, about 10 mins. Broil lightly until the top starts to brown. Take out the squash and put it back in its bowl.
4. Roast the red bell peppers next until nicely roasted. Remove from the oven.
5. Heat some butter in a pan and toss the pasta right after you drain it. Add the red pepper flakes. If there is any oil/spice remaining in the bowls used for tossing the veggies, take some of the pasta from the pan and roll it into the bowls. Never waste fats!
6. Toss in the roasted veggies.
7. Parm the pasta, i.e toss the pasta with Parmesan cheese. If Google can be a verb, then say hello to Parm!
7. What are you waiting for, dig in!
This is a dry pasta but simple and flavorful. We thought that the squash and the red bell pepper went really well with each other. The sage worked well with the squash and the paprika and the red pepper flakes were a nice contrast to the inherently sweet squash and the red bell peppers.
Enough chutzpah...but I do recommend it ;) Its tasteful and not too unctuous...take that, Hugh Grant!