Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Saturday, September 13, 2008

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.   

Squash Sauce

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.

Sausage (v1):
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.

Sausage (v2):
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.

Mushroom:
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.

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