I've not been home for dinner at all this week, so my lasagna looks like it may be a weekend venture. I've been eating lots of yummy things, however, mostly fixed by the catering staff at my museum - mushroom ravioli; wilted kale and fancy 'mac 'n' cheese'. All so good that I've become a bit spoiled and can no longer really remember what it was like to cook myself dinner!
But, in response to my last post, Jerseygirl77 asked for a no-fail butternut squash recipe. This question prompted me to look in my recipe box and among my many papers for two of my favorite dishes that incorporate winter squashes. Pumpkin, butternut, acorn, or whatever variety you have on hand will do. The flavors will vary slightly, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.
One of my favorites that I use time and time again is for butternut squash soup. It has fresh ginger and Dijon mustard to give it a little kick (which I admit may not be kid-friendly), but certainly makes it interesting. I make a large vat of it and then stick batches in the freezer for later lunches or dinners. It also gives me an opportunity to use my immersion blender - always a fun thing!
Butternut Squash Soup
From A Veggie Venture
2 cups vegetable broth (I assume you can use chicken as well), heated
1 T olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 T minced garlic
1 t fresh ginger (feel free to use the powdered version if that's what you have)
1 T Dijon mustard
3 cups cooked winter squash (butternut is my norm)
salt & pepper to taste
1. First, you must peel, cube, and cook the squash. This is super-easy with butternut squash or crook-neck pumpkins. Just peel the skin, dispose of the innards, and cube the meat. Place the cubes in boiling water for about 20 minutes or so or until tender.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for 3-5 minutes until just beginning to brown. Stir in the mustard and cook 1 minute. Add the broth and stir well. Continue until the broth is hot and the ingredients are incorporated.
3. Stir in the squash until incorporated. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is a good pairing to a nice fall salad or some crusty bread toasted with Parmesan.
I also have a super-yummy pasta recipe that I absolutely adore that I've adapted from the November 2007 Everyday Food. The first time I made it was when my mother came to visit last fall, and although it didn't fit her Weight Watcher's point system very well (pasta!), it is a good substitute for really cheesy pasta dishes that we normally identify as comfort food. Leaving out the parmesan wouldn't hurt the flavors too much and I've done it before to no great detriment.
Pasta with Creamy Squash Sauce
Adapted from Everyday Food
12 oz. pasta (I use whole wheat penne or some sturdy pasta)
2 T olive oil
1 T fresh rosemary
2 cups cooked crook-neck pumpkin, butternut, or acorn squash (just boil up the cubes and blend them a bit with an immersion blender or by hand until slightly creamy)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup milk (I've used skim before and it worked just fine)
1/3 cup Parmesan (optional)
1 T white-wine vinegar
1/4 t red-pepper flakes (more for garnish if you like it spicy)
1. Cook pasta as directed until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water, drain pasta and set aside.
2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring until starting to brown (1-2 minutes). Transfer rosemary to paper towel, leaving oil in pot. (I normally don't like fried things, but I must admit that this step really adds a glorious flavor to the dish!)
3. Carefully add squash, garlic, milk, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir until heated, about 3 minutes.
4. Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add more reserved pasta water. Season with salt. Serve with fried rosemary sprinkled on top and more red-pepper flakes if desired.
Jerseygirl77, you'll have to let us know if these work for your family!
Image courtesy marthastewart.com