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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Baked Tomato Pasta with Spinach from Shape Magazine

Ingredients:
2 cup whole-wheat penne
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cup baby spinach, chopped
3 cup diced tomato, divided
1 tbs dried oregano (or any herb)
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup shredded low- fat cheddar cheese, divided

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add spinach and 2 cups of tomato; cook for 4 minutes, until spinach wilts. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 cup of tomato, herbs, and salt. Transfer the cooked tomato mixture to the bowl and stir well. Add pasta to tomato mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in 1∕2 cup of the cheese. Grease bottom of baking dish with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Pour tomato pasta mixture into dish. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1∕4 cup cheese. Bake until cheese melts, about 4 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

My opinion:
I liked the spinach chopped up to give for more even cooking. Do not overcook the spinach. When it starts to wilt, kill the heat. It will keep cooking. Instead of adding everything to a second bowl, I just used the dish I put in the oven to combine everything. Instead of oregano, I used Italian seasoning and fresh basil. Don’t skimp on these, the flavor is so much better with them.