Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Escarole

26 09 2011

Fall is here and so are the great recipes that bring out the best flavors of the season! I snagged this recipe from Food Everyday – it’s fast and a great value too (just under $10 for 4 people)! With the touch of ricotta and a drizzle of nutty brown butter, this dinner is deliciously sweet and savory.

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Escarole

  • Course salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I peeled and cubed the whole squash, storing half in the fridge for another recipe later this week)
  • 1 box spaghetti (about 3/4 lb)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 head escarole, leaves torn or cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 7 oz ricotta (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (see my tip below for how I used the lemon)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook squash until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander to drain. Return water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 – 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

While the pasta is cooking, finish the squash. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp butter over medium-high. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots and tender when pierced, about 8 minutes. Add escarole and cook, stirring until just beginning to wilt, 1 minute. Add vegetables to pot with pasta. To the skillet, add 4 Tbsp butter and cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until butter is lightly browned and has a nutty aroma – about 1 minute.  Drizzle over pasta and toss to combine, adding enough pasta water to create a light sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, top with ricotta and serve with lemon wedges (note: you mix the ricotta into the pasta as you eat).

This Girl’s tip: Rather than serving the lemon on the side, I zested half the lemon into the boiling pasta water right before I dropped the pasta. I zested the other half of the lemon into the squash while they were browning. When I tossed everything together, I used half the juice of the lemon to brighten everything up just before serving.

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