Squash and more squash
We had a great weekend in Colorado Springs, visiting friends who happen to have a garden… and lots of squash (both summer and winter versions). Plus I have found a great new recipe for a pasta sauce which has lots of possibilities.... seemed I needed to make sure I posted this now for everyone who might have excess squash.
We could not leave without taking some summer squash (side note: TSA does allow squash in your carry-on bags*), so I made a new variant on “Pasta Whatever” at the beginning of the week: Chop 2 slices of bacon** and cook until crisp, set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Saute ½ an onion, chopped, in the bacon fat. Add 3 small-medium sized yellow squash, cut in half and sliced thin, sauté a bit more, and deglaze with a bit of white wine. Add some pasta water if it starts to get too dry. When the squash is cooked (takes just a few minutes) add a ½ pound of cooked chunky pasta. Stir, add a couple of ounces of goat cheese, chopped basil, and reserved bacon. We ate the entire batch in one sitting (normally, we have at least enough left for one lunch!)
* It’s allowed, but expect they will put your bag back through the x-ray and make comments like “is this zucchini in here?”
** Look for an upcoming blog just on bacon. Just a touch of bacon now and then makes life much better.
Next is a winter squash pasta sauce based on a Giada de Laurentiis recipe. I generally have trouble doing anything the same twice, and have made this 3 times: 2 different ways with sausage, and tonight with mushrooms. Someday I will do the original version, which calls for Shrimp.
This makes enough for 1 ½ pounds of pasta, and freezes very well. Since I normally cook a ½ pound of pasta, this makes enough for 3 batches, I use one, and freeze the other 2 in zip-loc baggies.
¼ cup olive oil
2 pounds butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet or wide pot over medium high heat. Add squash, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until the squash is golden and starting to get tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the stock, bring to simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 7- 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pasta with squash sauce
Each of below is based on ½ pound of chunky pasta (like rigatoni), and 1/3 batch of Squash Sauce and makes 2-3 servings.
Shrimp (from original version, which I never have actually done):
Saute ½ pound of shrimp in olive oil with some salt and pepper.
Combine cooked pasta, warmed pureed squash, and ½ cup of milk. Stir to combine. Add cooked shrimp, ¼ cup chopped basil, and a couple of tablespoons grated parmesan. Stir until warm and serve.
Grill pre-cooked sausage (or warm leftover grilled sausage) and cut into chunks.
Combine cooked pasta, warmed pureed squash, and ½ cup of milk. Stir to combine. Add sausage, ¼ cup chopped basil, and a ¼ cup grated parmesan. Stir until warm and serve. Caution: this looks a lot like mac and cheese, but its not.
Saute ½ a chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft. Add ½ pound of Italian sausage removed from casing. (I use turkey sausage, but this would be great with venison sausage if I could get more from my brother) and sauté until browned. Add squash sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and a ¼ cup of light cream (half and half). Stir, adding a bit of pasta water if needed to thin. Serve with a good grating of parmesan cheese.
Saute ½ a chopped onion in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add a ½ tablespoon of butter, then ¼ - ½ pound of mushrooms (shitake or cremini), cut in half. Saute until starting to brown, then add ½ cup of white wine. Cook until wine is reduced and almost gone, then add squash puree and a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. Cook for a few minutes. Add cooked pasta and stir. Remove from the heat and add ¼ cup of plain (preferably Greek) yogurt, stir until mixed. Serve with a good grating of parmesan cheese.