Butternut Squash and Fried Sage Pasta


If you told me 10 years ago, I’d be eating squash, I would never believe you. But I am! And I’m loving it! I had no idea these fall vegetables could taste so lovely! I’m always looking for new recipes and when a friend recommended this Self Magazine butternut squash recipe, I jumped at the chance to try it. It was super easy (once I figured out how to cut the squash) and very filling.

Ingredients:
8 oz whole-wheat penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves (Do not substitute dried, it doesn’t taste the same!)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lb), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (it’s ok to omit this, but it does enhance the flavors)

Directions:
Cook penne as directed on package (we used spaghetti because we were out of penne, it worked just as well!). Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry sage, turning once, until crisp on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 3 minutes. Add squash, 3/4 cup water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash softens, 5 to 7 minutes (this took about 10 minutes for us). Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and add squash mixture; stir over low heat, adding some reserved cooking water if necessary, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Serve, garnished with cheese and sage.

My Opinion:
I didn’t expect this simple dish to be as flavorful and wonderful as it was. The only two changes I’ll make are to add more onion and garlic. A great late fall early winter dish. Not to mention a wonderful introduction to the world of butternut squash. What new vegetable should we try next? Parsnips?

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Tilapia and Edamame

This is really two separate dishes from Sandra Lee’s Money Saving meals show on the Food Network that we just happened to randomly catch one evening. It was so worth it! We’ve tweaked them a bit. I’ll explain the tilapia first and the edamame second.

Tilapia Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (we use Old Bay!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 tilapia fillets (we use the frozen kind when we can’t get fresh from the grocery store)
2 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable or olive, whatever is on hand!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves (you can leave this out if you don’t have them on hand)

Tilapia directions:
In a shallow baking dish combine flour, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper. Add the tilapia and lightly coat each side.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Shake off any excess seasoned flour and place in the skillet. Brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Turn down the heat to the pan the tilapia was cooked to low and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the garlic, lemon juice and parsley and saute for 2 minutes. Place the fillets on serving plates or a platter, top with the sauce and serve.

My opinion Tilapia:
We use more Old Bay than flour in this dish. The original directions call for putting the tilapia in a baking dish to keep warm until the edamame is done. That step is unnecessary. The tilapia stays warm just fine.

Edamame Ingredients:
2 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable or olive, whatever is on hand!)
1 medium onion, diced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed

Edamame Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, to taste and saute for 2 minutes. Add edamame and saute for 4 minutes until edamame are heated through and onions are tender.

My Opinion Edamame:
No changes necessary here! The directions were spot on and this is an excellent pairing with the tilapia above. Enjoy!