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Butternut Squash With Pasta


jm chen
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Trying to replicate one of my favorite restaurant dishes for home consumption, and I have some ideas, but online recipe resources are turning up squat. For some reason foodtv.com thinks that when you put "squash" and "pasta" together, you want ravioli. Not so. Epicurious seems to think you will want the squash pureed. Again, not so.

Basically, I've got little twirly bits of pasta that I want to mix with cubes of butternut squash and toasted walnuts, with a dollop of ricotta on top.

I'm leaning toward roasting the squash, but I'm wondering if I can get results that are almost as good by cooking stovetop, either by 1) boiling and then sauteeing or 2) just cutting the cubes small to go directly to a saute. Fewer dirty pans, y'know.

Also, there should be a little bit of sauce, probably with shallot and some butter -- how should I go about putting this together? Can I make a squash-flavored sauce with the seed-and-fiber-saute method someone brought up in the squash soup discussion?

Obviously it won't be quite like the original, but I'm just trying to get the general sense of it. Rich and wintry and a little bit sweet.

Thoughts?

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Trying to replicate one of my favorite restaurant dishes for home consumption,

<snip>

Thoughts?

I tried this myself a few weeks ago. I think you really must roast the squash (peel and dice first) to get any flavor out of it. I combined mine with leek and garlic cooked in butter, fresh ricotta, a bit of nutmeg, and, um... well, I've forgotten. It was good for comfort food, but rather uninteresting.

Just out of curiosity, are you trying to replicate the dish at Dino? That was my inspiration, though I was trying to improve on what they served, as I found it bland and too buttery. (Sorry, Dean; I still love your restaurant, though.)

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Your query reminded me that somewhere I had a recipe for Butternut squash risotto. It turned out that the recipe (Spicy Winter Risotto) was in the WaPo's Sunday Source in January of this year. It has Italian sausage in it, but otherwise is a typical risotto recipe. It calls for peeling a 2 lb. butternut squash, cutting it into 1/2-inch cubes, tossing the cubes with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, S&P, and spreading them on a cookie sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until just tender and just brown--about 25-30 minutes. Then you make the risotto and add the cooked sausage and squash cubes at the end.

One cute trick: before peeling the squash, you prick it all around and put in a microwave on High for 1 minute. Supposedly, this makes it easier to peel; but, since I don't have a microwave, I don't know if this is any easier that just using a vegetable peeler.

I hope this helps.

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if you saute the diced sqush with onions and garlic in butter and olive oil. and then remove the squash from the pan. there will be the beginnings of a squash flavored sauce in the pan. maybe just take some of the roasted squash and mash it up and add it to the pan and whisk in a little more butter?

definitely finish the dish with sage, right before you take the squash out of the pan.

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Is this the dish in question? I had a small taste of it last night, but wasn't bowled over. For me, it didn't have the depth of flavor, much discussed in the other post. Maybe it was just an off night?

Cavatelli con Zucca 16

Butternut Squash Pasta- fresh ricotta shells with

butternut squash, walnuts, truffled ricotta

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Is this the dish in question?  I had a small taste of it last night, but wasn't bowled over.  For me, it didn't have the depth of flavor, much discussed in the other post.  Maybe it was just an off night?

Nope. I had some of it last week and my dinner guest said it was very bland. My roasted chicken was pretty good though.

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I had it last night too and found it as appealing as always. Not sure what the difference could be. The first thing I do when I get it is to stir the ricotta in, and between the creamy ricotta, crunchy walnuts, soft squash, and tons of tangy shallots (or garlic, or both -- I can't tell), I always find it flavorful. Different preferences, I s'pose.

Haven't gotten around to making it myself yet, but when I do, I'll definitely be making tiny cubes of the squash and doing the pan saute so I can deglaze for flavor. Many thanks for the tips. I may try that risotto recipe too, sounds awesome.

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