Pepita Pesto Pasta with Roasted Squash

I love cooking with squash in the winter and fall.  If you get it at the right place and time, you can get an awesome deal, and 1 medium butternut squash can easily feed several people.

While I have to credit Rachel Ray for this delicious meal, I will say that this is no where near a 30 minute meal, as she claims.  It does take some time, but it’s well worth the wait.  Perfect for a cold winter night, this meal is soul food at its finest.

You can also liven this dish up by adding some sausage, like we did here, or some blackened chicken.  The squash is good in this recipe, but I think using a meat would be much better.  And I don’t recommend altering the pesto at all…it’s so good just as is!  If you don’t like pumpkin seeds or have any allergies to them, they can easily be omitted without loosing flavor, but the pesto is my favorite part of this dish!  I might make it again in the summer to marinate chicken or maybe fish.

Pepita Pesto Pasta with Roasted Squash

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. quinoa penna or whole wheat penne
  • 1 ½ lbs. butternut squash or pumpkin—pealed, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Nutmeg, for grating
  • 1 cup chopped parsley and cilantro
  • ½ cup grated romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. While the pasta is working, on a baking sheet, drizzle the squash with oil and season with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Roast until tender and charred at the edges,, about 18 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, using a food processor, pulse 1/3 cup oil, the herbs, cheese, peppers, garlic, pumpkin seeds, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the pesto, reserved pasta cooking water and squash to the drained pasta. Toss gently and serve.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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