If you're wondering whether my house is clean and straightened and all is perfect after yesterday's post, I'd like to proudly profess that it is not. There is still laundry on my bed (though the bed did at least get made this morning!), the rug needs to be vacuumed terribly, and the bathroom is still a disaster.
At least the dirty diapers got washed though!
And the crusty rice got swept up!
Small blessings, my friends.
In other urgent news, my playdate with the other new Mom in town went wonderfully. Free splash parks, ROCK. On top of the wonderful fellowship and energy-burning-activity for the wee-ones, turns out, she's a big blogger like your's truly! She, too, always has her camera in tow! She, too, can have conversations about things like Picasa and Photoshop struggles and domain names and hosts. A kindred spirit, right here with me – what a blessing!
I would also like to point out that none of this has anything to do with my post.
Because, you see, my post involves squash. Butternut squash, to be exact. The most incredibly delicious butternut squash pasta sauce, to be even more precise.
Seriously guys. This pasta sauce is wonderful.
Maybe it's the weather that's finally dipped below 1000 degrees, or the fact that downtown shops are putting up their fall decorations, or the fact that I was gifted with a butternut squash – but whatever it is, it's causing this girl to yearn for all things fall. My most favorite time of year.
To me, this sauce is very fall-esque. Very comforting. Very cozy. But fancy, too. If we would have had company for the meal, I would have loved to grill up some stuffed chicken breasts or something…but instead, we simply ate giant plates of freshly made pasta, smothered in this nutty, cheesy, nutmeg spiced sauce.
Did I mention it's delicious?
Let's cut to the chase. There's calories to consume, people.
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
You will need:
– 1 butternut squash, weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
– 1/2 cup of diced onions plus 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
– 1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
– 1/3 cup of high-quality cream
– Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp.)
– Salt and pepper
– Water or more cream, to thin sauce as needed
– Chopped fresh herbs, for serving (rosemary or thyme would be wonderful)
Step One: Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Lay the squash, flesh side down, on a baking pan. Roast in a 350 degree oven until the squash is golden, sweaty, and soft. This will take about 30-45 minutes. After the squash has roasted, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool.
I find it easiest whenever I need squash puree to simply roast it in the morning. Then, I let it hang out on the counter during the day and cool. When it comes time to prep dinner, the squash has cooled, and I can easily remove the skin and seeds with a spoon.
Step Two: Which just happens to be the next step. After the squash has cooled, remove the skin and seeds using a spoon.
Step Three: Alright. Now we're getting somewhere. Whenever it works for you, brown your diced onion in the olive oil until fragrant, soft, and slightly golden. Five or so minutes.
Step Four: In a food processor or blender, combine the squash puree, the softened onion, shredded Parmesan, a few good pinches of sea salt & freshly ground pepper, and the nutmeg. Puree that delicious-orange-sauce until it's nice and smooth. You may need to add up to a cup of water to really help and get it nice and creamy. That's fine. As long as it gets smooth, add as much water as you need.
This may also involve using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Don't be lazy and skip this. We don't want any onion or squash chunks in here people – this is a velvety sauce. Ain't no chunks in velvet.
Step Five: Transfer the sauce to a pan and heat it up slowly on low heat, stirring as you need to. At this point, add in your cream.
Mmm! Doesn't that smell wonderful? It's the freshly ground nutmeg that makes it. Don't skip it or you'll regret it forever.
Taste it. Does it need more salt? More fresh pepper? More cream? A few teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary?
Step Six: When the sauce has reached your desired temperature, simply pour it over a bunch of pasta, gently mix, and enjoy. I would highly recommend serving this with an extra grading of Parmesan cheese on top. You know, just for good measure.
This recipe allows for a lot of your own flare – feel free to tailor the spices and herbs to your pleasure. It is, after all, your sauce. It's a wonderful example of how a few simple, high-quality ingredients can really ‘wow' on their own.
Which would also be delicious served over rice or lightly sauteed vegetables, just for the record.
But I'm growing a baby. So I'll take mine over a heaping pile of homemade pasta. Thank you. And pass the extra Parmesan.
I did eat a spinach salad with it. That counts for something.
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.