I love butternut squash. I love the taste, the texture, the color, the shape. I love that now that I have a big-girl knife set, I'm no longer afraid of cutting them in half. I love that I now know that you can peel them with a vegetable peeler. With these problems solved, butternut squash is probably the vegetable I am most comfortable experimenting with in the kitchen.
So when I stumbled upon this recipe on the site of Puritan & Genesta, a health food store in Mystic, CT, I knew I would make it. And that I did, after a long day of work, some sample sale and grocery shopping, and a long, local train ride. (I only exhibit this kind of commitment to cooking on a weeknight for things involving winter squash.)
I substituted spinach for chard, because I had a lot of it lying around (with a spoon in the bag to keep the greens fresh, a Heloise tip via Aunt D). I would advise you to be free with the lemon juice. I used more than the recipe called for initally, and every time I reheat the dish in the microwave, I add some more, with pepper, for more life and zing.
The recipe yields a lot of food -- so far we've eaten it three days in a row, and we're not even sick of it, which is a testament to the variety of flavors and textures going on here.
PASTA WITH ONION, GREENS AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1 (13/4-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice (4 cups cubed)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cups chopped onion
8 ounces mixed-grain bow ties or penne
1 pound chard, trimmed and shredded (about 12 cups shredded)
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cumin. Place in single, uncrowded layer on baking sheet and roast until squash is fork-tender, 20 to 24 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and browned, 15 to 17 minutes.
4. Cook pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water according to package directions. Three to 4 minutes before it is finished cooking, add the chard to the pot. Just before draining, add the beans.
5. Toss pasta with the lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss with the squash, caramelized onions and Parmesan. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 446 calories, 19 g protein, 68 g carbohydrate, 15 g fiber, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 859 mg sodium, 242 mg calcium