[Note from Kat: Talk about instant gratification! Not more than 5 days into the daily blogging challenge, I am happy to announce that my recipe for the French Quarter Olive Salad was chosen to be a Featured Post over the weekend on the national site, Blogher.com. If you look quickly (as in soon, don’t delay or you’ll miss my 15 minutes of fame and glory), you’ll see me, third article from the top. Truthfully, its an honor to be featured. Please pay homage to the little badge I’ve included on my homepage. Thank you Blogher!]
To quote a reader who is my friend, “you’ve been on a pumpkin roll.” Lest you all think I’m just a one winter vegetable girl, this week I’m turning my attention to butternut squash. Butternut squash is a common variety of winter squash that is in plentiful supply this time of year. It has a firm yellow to orange colored flesh with a sweet, nutty flavor. Although there are a number of ways to cook butternut squash, the most common is to roast it. Once roasted the flesh can be cubed, pureed or mashed and added to any number of dishes, including soups, casseroles, pasta (ahem), chili or muffins. You may find one squash yields more than enough for multiple recipes.
To roast butternut squash:
Butternut squash has a tough exterior. It is slightly easier to slice through if you make a few slits with a knife and then microwave it for about 45 seconds.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°. Slice the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Place the squash flesh side down in a small oven proof dish filled with about 1/2 cup water. This will insure that the squash doesn’t dry out while roasting. It also means that you aren’t adding additional calories in the form of butter or olive oil. Cook 30 to 45 minutes or until you can easily poke through the flesh with a fork.
Once the butternut squash is cooled, use a vegetable or potato peeler to easily peel off the outer skin. Store the butternut squash in either the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to use it.
Butternut Squash and Sausage Pasta
- 6 oz dried pasta such as orzo or farfelle (bow ties)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 links chicken or turkey sausage,* cut into 1/4 inch rounds
- 2 cups cooked butternut squash, cut in cubes (approx. 1/2 cooked squash)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Fresh basil for garnish
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.
- In a large skillet, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Stirring so that it doesn’t burn.
- Add the sausage and cook about 3 or 4 minutes or until brown.
- Add the cooked pasta, butternut squash and spices. Add the reserved cooking liquid.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook until liquid thickens a bit.
- Remove from heat and top with fresh Parmesan and chopped basil
Kat’s tip: I used the Sam’s Club Artison Fresh brand Italian Style Chicken which clocks in at 140 calories per link. Just about any Italian or Polish sausage would work but it may change the calorie counts.
Kat’s tip number 2: The original recipe called for 1/2 cup toasted walnuts. The BFF I was sharing with this is allergic so I left them out. I can’t say they would have made a noticable difference.
Nutritional information (without walnuts)
Calories 376.4 Total Fat 13.3 g Cholesterol 77.7 mg Sodium 538.1 mg Potassium 294.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 43.4 g Protein 22.6 g