Monday, November 16, 2009

Squash Season and a Preview of Thanksgiving

It's that time of the year again.

I came across this recipe while reading this month's REAL FOOD from Lunds and Byerly's. I like their magazines: featuring local produce and inspirations. This is what I like about MN. People do care about what they eat and where they are from. It's kind of like a MN culture.

This is my first time preparing and cooking squash. It's funny right? The closest veggie I've cooked that resembles squash is zucchini. I know, they don't really resemble each other... it's funnier that I even feel that way. But hey, they are both greenish on the outside and in some kind of weird shapes... No? (And indeed, they are from the same Family and Species. So, I'm right about something.)
Anyway, cutting or halfing the squash is the hardest part. Maybe my knife just wasn't shape enough, I thought my knife was gonna bend cutting my way through the squash... After cutting them in half, gotta remove the seeds, cut away the skin... dicing them... phew... no wonder I never like pumpkin carving...

Rigatoni con Zucca e Salsicce/ Rigatoni Pasta with Squash and Sausage
Olive Oil x 1 tbsp
Pancetta, diced x 2 oz
Italian sausage, removed from casing x 1/2 lbs
Onion, minced x 1/2 cup
Garlic, finely chopped x 1 large clove
Fresh Rosemary, chopped x 1 tbsp
Red pepper flakes x 1/4 tsp
Butternut Squash or pumpkin x 2 lbs
Rigatoni x 1 lb

Combine olive oil, pancetta and crumbled sausage in a large sauce pan over medium heat.. Cook and stir often till meat is browned. Add onion and garlic and cook till onion is soft. Add the rosemary, red pepper flakes, squash, 1 tsp salt and 2 cups of water. The water should barely cover the squash. Bring to a boil and let the squash sauce simmer uncovered until tender. It should be tender enough to be smashed with a spoon to create the saucy/puree texture with some chunks of squash.
Boil the pasta on the side (remember to add salt, and NO olive oil). Stir pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with some parsley leaves. Serve with cheese.

Not that difficult huh? I love the Italian sausages and pancetta. I haven't came across recipes that use pancetta, so it's nice to get to try something new with this one. This dish has some unexpected taste to it. I am very familiar with the usual red and white sauce for pasta, but never a "yellow/orange" sauce. It's very "squashy" in flavor. Very aromatic with the herbs and spices; the pancetta definitely adds a lot of flavor and grease to it too. Definitely something different, but worth trying. Now you can get pumpkin and pasta on the same dish! Thanksgiving? Done!


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