Thursday, November 1, 2012

Butternut Squash Spaghetti


We have been on a pasta kick lately--we had the turkey risotto (which isn't a pasta, I know, but it's close enough), the best bolognese, which we then turned into the braided spaghetti bread (that I keep dreaming about), and the pasta with balsalmic chicken, to name a few.  As I type, I am eating another pasta dish that will be blogged about in the very near future.  Anyhow, the reason for our pasta habit is not because of some deep-rooted craving, but because we are so busy that the only thing we can seem to throw together when we get home is wheat pasta from Costco, chicken also from Costco, and whatever veggies still look fresh enough to eat from the fridge.

This butternut squash spaghetti did require a trip to the store to get a squash because I didn't happen to have one lying around, but I had all of the other ingredients on hand.  What a tasty treat!  The creaminess from the butternut squash tricks you into thinking you are eating cream-, butter-, and cheese-laden fettuccine alfredo at a world-class Italian restaurant while drinking Chianti and whispering sweet nothings to your dinner partner in the candlelight.  Keep that image in your head--this dish is nearly there--but even better because it comes with all of the flavor (and romance if you want) but without the calories!  This was an incredible hit at our house.

Teaser Alert:  I will post the veggie breadsticks we made as dipping vessels in a future post.  Since we are talking about romance, I am going to leave you wanting to come back to more.  What a flirt, I know.

In the meantime, relish in the beauty, grace, and elegance that is this butternut squash spaghetti.  It is the absolute perfect meal for a fall date.  In fact, I may have to make it again for just that reason!


Butternut Squash Spaghetti:
(This makes a ton of sauce.  You could easily use the leftovers to make a butternut squash soup.)
  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 2ish portabello mushroom heads cut into small pieces
  • 1 large leek, the white part thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4ish cups of lower sodium chicken broth (the amount depends on the consistency you are going for)
  • 4-5 fresh sage leaves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated paremesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of wheat spaghetti
  • more grated parmesan for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a cookie sheet with nonstick tinfoil and place the squash cut-side down on the prepared sheet.  Cook for 25-30 minutes or until a fork inserted into the thickest part of the squash comes out very easily.  We are going for fully cooked here, people, not al dente.
  2. Get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta.
  3. While the squash is cooking, add the leeks and garlic to a large saute pan coated with a little bit of olive oil.  Cook until the leeks are soft.  
  4. Once the squash is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let cool slightly until you can manage it without having to go to the hospital.
  5. While waiting for the squash to cool, cook your chicken and portabellos.  We threw all of the diced chunks of both into the tagine with a little bit of olive oil.  You can easily cook your chicken and the mushrooms together in a skillet with some olive oil and a hint of wine if you want. 
  6. As soon as the chicken is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water.
  7. Monitor the chicken and pasta and make the sauce at the same time.
  8. Scoop half of the squash into the food processor along with the leeks and garlic. 
  9. Add about a cup of chicken broth and begin to puree. 
  10. Continue to add the rest of the squash.
  11. Add chicken broth until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.  
  12. Return the sauce to the large saute pan used for the leeks and garlic to reheat on medium/low.  (The temperature will have dropped because of the chicken broth.)  
  13. Stir in the parmesan cheese and the sliced sage.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  15. To serve, place a bed of spaghetti on the bottom of your dish of choice, add some sauce, and top with the chicken and poratbellos.
  16. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
  17. ENJOY!

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