Guess what, guess what!? I just cut, peeled, roasted, and mashed my very first butternut squash all by myself.
I’m very proud, if I say so myself.
It was not as hard as I thought it would be. And I sort of mean that literally – the squash was softer than I expected. It was still pretty solid, but I managed to get one of my crappy knives through it with a little bit of elbow grease. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to, but I was. Then I peeled it (again, took a little elbow grease because the skin is very thick), cubed it, and roasted it for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Easy peasy.
After that, in order to make the pasta sauce, I used a potato masher to mash up the squash. To the squash, I added some sauteed leeks and garlic and about 1 cup of pasta water. For flavor, I added some thyme, pepper, and salt.
My mom introduced me to the possibility of this dish – she made hers with some shrimp, and I don’t think she used leeks. I adapted my recipe from Skinny Taste but mine is vegan. Basically a lot of different sources inspired me to make this dish, and you should feel free to evolve it to your own taste – you can boil or sautee the squash instead of roasting it, add some nice sage if you have it, or mix in some heavy cream or parmesan cheese.
Just don’t be afraid of the butternut squash! Trust me on that one. If you’re still a little leery of them, Whole Foods sometimes sells them already cubed.
1-1.5 lbs. of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
0.5 lbs. of whole wheat pasta shells
1 leek, white and light green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
1. Roast the peeled and cubed butternut squash at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, seasoned with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, clean and thinly slice the leek.
3. Sautee the leek and some garlic in a small saucepan with some olive oil.
4. After the leek is translucent and fragrant, remove it from the heat.
5. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water.
6. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
7. When the squash are tender and beginning to brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a large glass or metal bowl. Mash with the potato masher. Add the leeks and reserved pasta water.
8. Mix together until you get your desired consistency for the sauce (I like mine somewhere between thick soup and mashed potato).
9. Combine with pasta and eat!