Friday, October 30, 2009
Butternut Squash Baked Pasta
I have been dying to tell you all about this dish for at least a week and a half, but school was more busy than usual and kept me away from blogging more. But this baked pasta is so good I considered blowing off my homework to tell you about it... or maybe blowing off my homework in order to go make more! I was able to talk myself out of it, but I hope you now understand how good this pasta is! It is creamy and silky, almost reminiscent of mac and cheese, but other than the carb overload it's pretty darn healthy. If you like pasta and butternut squash, you will love this.
I added a couple things in order to make this a complete meal. First, I crumbled up tempeh, and added it in as I was finishing up the onions. It added protein, and also a nice nutty flavor. If I haven't' convinced you yet, maybe this will be the dish that inspires you to try tempeh. I also added some spinach, for extra nutrients. It had good flavor, and I wished I had added even more spinach (I happened to have some in my fridge, so it initially went in as part of a fridge cleaning). Also, I didn't feel like going to the grocery store just for three slices of crusty baguette, so I just sliced up some regular wheat sandwich bread. Just as good, and maybe even healthier! This is a satisfying dinner and perfect cold weather comfort food.
Baked Shells with Winter Squash
From Everyday Food by Martha Stewart Living
Butter, for baking dish
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 8 oz package of tempeh, crumbled
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 pound small pasta shells
1 package (12 ounces) frozen winter squash puree, thawed**
4 cups of baby spinach leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 slices crusty baguette, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until onions are soft and release liquid, 15 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until onions are browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the crumbled tempeh with about 10 minutes of cooking time left for the onions. Stir in 1 teaspoon rosemary.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes less than package instructions suggest. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water. Return pasta to pot.
Stir squash and reserved pasta water into onions; simmer 2 minutes. Toss squash mixture, the spinach, and 1/2 cup Parmesan with pasta. Transfer to prepared dish.
Combine bread cubes with remaining Parmesan, rosemary, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Top pasta with bread cubes; bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
** Want to make your own squash puree? Take a whole butternut squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast in the oven. I sprinkled a little salt and pepper on top, and roasted for about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven. When the squash is very soft, remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop out the squash, and puree in a food processor or blender. It's easy, but make sure you plan the extra time for it to roast!