Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

6 10 2014

I can’t help but feel like I knocked dinner out of the park tonight with this luscious, Alfredo-like pasta dish that’s healthy to boot! I didn’t use cream, butter or flour – but still achieved the rich and silky consistency we’ve all come to love from Alfredo, thanks to roasted butternut squash puree. I recommend making the puree over the weekend (it’s super easy, just will take an hour or so)…this way you can whip this meal faster during a busy weeknight.

Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • Chopped broccoli greens from 1-2 heads of broccoli (alternatively, you could also use kale, about 1.5 cups worth or so)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 13 oz whole wheat penne or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, while the original recipe called for heavy cream – use what you have)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil. Lightly coat the squash halves with olive oil on both sides. Place squash, flesh side down on pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Bake squash until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash and puree in a Vitamix or blender, discard the skin. At this point you can cover and store the puree in the fridge until you’re ready to make this meal.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in your skillet. Add the broccoli greens or kale and saute until wilted a few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions, cooking to al dente. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the corn kernels. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain pasta and corn.

To the skillet you used to cook the bacon and greens in, add a Tbsp or so of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add shallots and cool until soft, a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze skillet with Marsala and cook until nearly evaporated.

Stir in squash puree (about 2 cups worth, but no worries if you have a little less – the sauce will still be great). Next add the milk and broth, stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

Stir in the pasta and corn, along with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add a little at first, then more as needed to reach your desired sauce consistency. Toss the pasta and corn with the sauce over heat for a minute or two. Add sautéed greens and most of the bacon, reserving a little for garnish, and toss well. If your sauce seems a little loose, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes which will thicken it up.

To serve, dish out the pasta and garnish with toasted nuts, parmesan, parsley and black pepper to taste.

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Turkey and Kale Penne With Marinara

3 03 2014

Creating new dishes can be as simple as revisiting ones you’ve already made, and adding a new twist. I went back to my Zucchini “Ravioli” or “Lasagna” With Turkey and Kale Filling to make this pasta. This time I used the filling from the lasagna to make the base of the penne. A new vehicle for similar flavors, but just as tasty.

I’ve already thought of a third way to use these ingredients to make yet another delicious dish, which I’ll be serving at an upcoming dinner party. Stay tuned for that coming later this month!

Turkey and Kale Penne With Marinara

Turkey and Kale Penne With Marinara

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat penne
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with salt. Add penne and cook to al dente, according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add half the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add half the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Season lightly with salt to taste. Add ground turkey and raise the heat to medium-high. Saute, until meat is cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. I used a little homemade sausage seasoning to add some extra flavor to the meat. You can skip this step, but here’s the recipe for the seasoning I use: https://thisgirlsgottaeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/sweet-potato-spicy-turkey-sausage-soup-with-kale/.

While the meat cooks, make the marinara. In a saucepan, add another Tbsp or so of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the diced onion and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the rest of the minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook for another minute. Add tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off heat, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce slightly.

Meanwhile, add kale to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add ricotta, 2 Tbsp grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Once the turkey is cooked through, mix in the kale-ricotta puree.

Drain the cooked penne and add to the turkey and kale mixture. Cook over low heat for a minute, tossing constantly, until well combined.

To serve, plate some of the turkey and kale penne and top with a little marinara. Garnish with parmesan cheese.





Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Prosciutto, and Sage

16 02 2012

This simple, hearty pasta recipe is packed with flavor. The crisp prosciutto pairs well with the sweet, tender butternut squash. And since it’s relatively quick to make, this is a great weeknight meal!

Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Prosciutto, and Sage

The following serves 4 (compliments of Scott Conant):

  • 1 medium (about 2 and 1/4 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • 3 ounces prosciutto thinly sliced and finely chopped (the original recipe called for pancetta which I’m sure would be delicious)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced crosswise (I substituted red onion, finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, flakes
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt. Transfer to oven and roast until squash is browned and tender, about 15 – 20  minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Set pasta and reserved cooking liquid aside.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add prosciutto or pancetta and cook until just crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Add shallots, crushed red pepper, and sage. Cook until shallots are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add penne and squash and toss gently, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid as necessary to moisten.
Add cheese and black pepper and cook, tossing gently, until pasta and squash are heated through. I finished
with about a Tbsp cubed cold butter, tossing everything together until melted. Serve immediately with more grated cheese, if desired.