Archive for January 12th, 2020

January 12, 2020

Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage and Bacon

I first made this pasta four years ago. Two kids and a bunch of new appliances later, here’s the better and faster version! This use to take over an hour. Now it’s under 30min.

I’m almost too embarrassed to share this, but look at how ugly this dish use to be: old version.

Four years ago, I had a crappy Nutribullet blender which required working in batches. That’s why everything came out chunky. Today, my Vitamix took a few seconds. Pasta also use to take forever. Rental property stoves take 20 minutes to just boil a damn pot of water, then another 10 or so to cook the pasta. So that was another bottle neck. My new multicooker takes 5 minutes to cook pasta. Beginning to end.

Now I have more time for all of life’s other demands! More time to wipe noses and butts and step on legos. And of course, my lovely, appreciative, angel of a son takes one look at his plate and goes “I dont like this dinner, mommy. Cook me something else. How about a lot of bacon?”

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Some notes:

  • Toys that will make your life easier:
    • multicooker with a steamer basket,
    • vitamix blender,
    • veggie spiraler
  • I roasted half the squash (or whatever fits on the toaster oven tray) and steamed the rest. I find the steamed half lends a creamier texture while the roasted half gives it a nice caramelized flavor. Feel free to pick one or the other. I prefer using both.
  • I use zoodles for half my pasta for health reasons. We also use barilla veggie pasta that’s 1/4 veggies. Also, maybe my kids are dumb, but they dont notice they’re eating veggies when it’s zoodles. Big leafs of spinach? Much less appealing to toddlers.
  • Timing is everything. Roasting veggies takes the longest. Do that first. Everything else can be done while roasting. Then start up pasta when veggies are done. While pasta is cooking, blend the sauce together. 30 min meal, y’all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 package spaghetti
  • 2 large shallots, thick sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • fresh sage
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • ~1 cup chicken stock
  • salt
  • optional: zucchini for zoodles
  • optional: grated parmesan  (I save the little containers that come with Italian take out and keep them in the freezer. Fresh is obviously better but we dont use parmesan often)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. PREP SQUASH: Peel and chop off ends. Cut squash in half, where the skinny end and the fat bulb meet. Slice the skinny half into <1/2 cm thick slices. Thinner slices roast faster! Cut bulb end in half again. Scoop out seeds. Chop into large chunks.
  3. Lightly spray aluminum lined pan and place sliced squash, whole garlic, and shallots on pan. Avoid crowding. Place shallots and garlic in center so they dont burn. Roast for ~15- 20 min.
  4. Dump squash chunks into steamer basket of multi cooker. Add 1-2 cups of water to inner pot, insert steamer rack trivet then steamer basket, making sure squash isn’t sitting in water. Steam 7 min. Drain and dump squash into blender.
  5. COOK BACON: Place slices of bacon in a cold frying pan. Turn heat on to medium. Render fat and fry bacon, turning as needed, until brown and crispy. Remove and set aside on paper towel. Chop into pieces. Use fat to fry sage–>
  6. FRY SAGE: Pick off the large pretty leaves from your sage stem. Reserve ugly or small ones and set aside. Place pretty leaves in hot bacon fat over medium high heat. Fry until each side is dark and crisp. I used a chopstick to turn them as they crumble easily when fried.  Remove and set aside on paper towel.
  7. COOK ZOODLES: Dump out most of the bacon fat. In remaining thin coat, heat pan on medium high again, then add zoodles. stir and salt to taste. Remove and later mix with pasta.
  8. COOK PASTA: (multicooker)
    • Unfortunately for spaghetti you need to break the dried pasta in half.
    • Dump pasta in inner pot.
    • Pour in just enough water to cover pasta. Salt.
    • Pressure cook on high for a little under half the time the box says. 9min pasta? Cook for 4. 11 min pasta? Try 5.
    • Drain in steamer basket used earlier for squash.
  9. BLEND SAUCE: Add chicken stock then roasted veggies and several small ugly sage leaves. Blend until smooth, adding chicken stock if too thick. (Honestly I didn’t’t bother to heat the chicken stock as everything else is plenty hot.)
  10. Mix zoodles and pasta, pour over some sauce, mix. Top with parmesan bacon and sage leaves.