Friday, January 23, 2009

Butternut Stow-Away

Okay, I have to admit, I did not actually intent to buy the butternut squash. I didn’t notice it in my virtual “grocery cart” on SPUD and it slipped into the weekly delivery like a stow away. It’s not that I have anything against winter squash. I like pumpkin pie, don’t I? It is just that I often don’t know what to do with their sweetness on the dinner plate. Its mega dose of Vitamin C does make it worthy of a good effort though.

If winter squash is not going to be whipped with egg and nutmeg and poured into a pie crust, it will need some strong savory flavors to temper its natural sweetness. I recently noticed a recipe somewhere with squash and bacon it in. Now I cannot remember where I saw the recipe… maybe it was in the newsletter that comes in my food box? Well, the important part it the bacon part. The thought of crispy, smoky bacon was enough to make me pull out the butternut squash from where it was hiding behind the onions and potatoes in my pantry.

I have kept the quantities simple here. Please feel free to alter the amounts to make it work for you. Trim down the bacon if you are weary of pork fat or cut the pasta in half if you are avoiding carbohydrates.

1 pound of your favorite dry pasta
1 butternut squash
½ pound of bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
½ cup of white wine
1 small spring of fresh rosemary or a few sage leaves
4 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of parsley, de-stemmed and minced
¼ pound of blue cheese, crumbled
Salt and black pepper to taste

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, begin cooking the bacon pieces over medium heat in a large sauté pan.

While the bacon is cooking, peel the butternut squash. I do this by cutting off both ends of the squash and then cutting the shaft of the squash from the bulb. Discard the seeds. Working with one piece at a time, I place it cut side down on a cutting board and use a chef’s knife to cut the rind off, working my way around. Once peeled, cut the squash into a small dice, about the size of the tip of your finger.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan. If there is more than 2 or 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan, drain off the excess (and buy better bacon next time). Set the bacon aside. Add the diced squash to the bacon fat and cook on medium heat. Mince the garlic and fresh herbs together and add to the squash. Add a dash of salt and pepper , you can add more later if needed. Cook for about five minutes then pour the white wine into the pan and stir to deglaze the pan. Continue to cook, allowing the squash to simmer in the pan. If the pan begins to dry out before the squash is done, add some water from the pasta water.

Speaking of pasta water, if your water has boiled… well, cook your pasta!

A minute before your squash is finished cooking, add the minced parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Drain the pasta and toss with the squash in the pan. Add the blue cheese and toss again.

This recipe should serve 4. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe this weekend and it was yummy. Great for a rainy evening. I was surprised at how tender the squash was after sauteeing it - somehow I thought it would take longer. Thanks for the advice on how to peel the squash. Susan