Wednesday, February 18, 2009

butternut squash cavatappi with shrimp

I created this recipe on accident, when I was trying to make filling for a ravioli. The filling was too thin- but it was really tasty, so I made it a sauce instead. The sauce itself is a brilliant shade of neon orange pumpkin, which is exciting for adults and children alike.

Sometimes- when I'm feeling really crazy- I use roasted beets instead! The sauce turns the most ridiculous shade of pinky creamy purple and it delights me to serve this to people who have never eaten my cooking before. they look at this purply, coiled mess of pasta and look at me quizzically, and then look at their bowl, as I look at them with a huge eyes and an excited smile- watching them take that first bite only to be surprised that it actually tastes great. The fact that nature can make anything that orange or that purple still fills me with wonderment and hope for brave new dishes.

For a change like to add sauteed mushrooms and leek-- or even just a sprinkling of peas for a nice contrast. As a kid, when mom and I would go to the grocery store, I was obsessed with "peas and carrots" pea and carrot shaped gumballs that were a quarter for a giant hand full. I still have a special place in my heart for the vegetable combination, and my brain has been wired to see "peas and carrots" every time I see orange and green together.

Butternut Squash with Cavatappi and Sauteed Shrimp

1 medium sized butternut squash
1/2 a white onion, sliced into thin strips
3 cloves peeled garlic- whole
2 tsp rubbed thyme
1 small package unflavored goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 pound cavatappi or fun shaped pasta-- penne rigate works well too
1-1.5 pounds shrimp, peeled, de-vained, & tails removed
1 lemon cut unto wedges
salt and pepper
olive oil

preheat oven to 400
Peel the butternut squash, and chop into about 1 inch cubes. Place squash with peeled garlic on a baking tray, and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed thyme- bake at 400- shaking and tossing veggies-- they are done when the tip of a knife inserted into a larger piece of squash comes out clean and easy-- like a baked potato. You don't want much resistance- we're looking for done through - so the sauce will be velvety smooth.

In a blender or food processor, add squash/onion/garlic, 1/4 cup Parmesan, goat cheese. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper, add if needed. If mixture is too thick- add 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water to thin it out. While pasta is cooking-- preheat a non stick pan to medium with a little olive oil- and saute the shrimp until pink. Do not over cook-- take them off with just a shade of grey left in them- and cover with foil off of the heat. Combine cooked pasta, butternut squash puree, shrimp and toss well-- add pasta water if needed, and toss well. Serve with hot fresh bread, a sprinkling of cheese, and a lemon wedge one the side.

Great with basil or oregano-- or Italian seasoning on the squash. Good also with chicken cutlets, as a side to pot roast, or as a hearty vegetarian meal. Make it Vegan by subbing out vegan low fat cream cheese and nutritional yeast for Parmesan.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely enter this in the ultimate recipe showdown