The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Karen's Kitchen

August 15, 2012

Butternut Squash is easy and delish!

TARBORO — My garden is beginning to fade away! It's hard to believe that summer is so close to being a memory. I'm not ready! But, one of the things that I love about the end of summer is harvesting my winter squash. This season we planted butternut squash. We vary what we plant each season.

One of the great things about winter squash is that it keeps for a very long time and it's delicious in many dishes. I hope you enjoy these recipes. Give them a try.

The first is a pasta dish. It's fantastic and so easy that you will wonder why you haven't made it before.

The second recipe is butternut squash that is pureed and served with goat cheese. I absolutely love goat cheese. It's one of my favorite things in the world. It's really good with this squash.

The third dish is soup. My brother-in-law says this feels grainy to him but he likes the flavor. I don't think it's grainy, I just think it has texture. Put some croutons on top of this and a dollop of Mexican Crema and it's yummy.

The next recipe is a dip. It's great with pita chips or even wavy potato chips. I also like it on bruschetta.

The last recipe is a basic roasted butternut squash. It's so simple and yet so tasty. Brown sugar and cinnamon make it a favorite of everyone.

Pasta Pan-Fried with Butternut Squash,

Fried Sage, and Pine Nuts

1 medium butternut squash

1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup fresh sage leaves

1 pound farfalle pasta

3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. (Note: The raw squash rind can irritate your hands. If they start to itch or tingle, wear gloves.) Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash.

Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain and set aside. As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. (Don't let it start smoking.) Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up.

Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.

Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture. Crumble in half the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese and serve.

(Repeat the last step with the rest of the ingredients. We split it into two because none of our pans are big enough to accommodate the entire recipe. It's very important that you not crowd the pan too much - you want the pasta to really pan-fry, not just steam up.)

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