This is a guest post by Alba Gelli
Are you looking for a delicious vegetarian recipe, easy to prepare and ready under 30 minutes?
I have got you covered: my spaghetti pasta with creamy butternut squash sauce is the answer!
Butternut squash is a wonderful vegetable I always stock in my food pantry. It is super handy to have as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, it can be stored in a cool place and it will last for up to a month.
Member of the Cucurbitaceae family, like the courgette, butternut squash is in season mainly during the autumn months: September, October, November, December and sometimes even in the winter.
Butternut squash is appreciated and widely available because of its versatility. It can be used in all sorts of recipes and endless ways, such as soup or stews, as well as being ideal for rice and pasta dishes. It is a yummy side for you Sunday roast but it can also be used to make mouthwatering sweet pies and cakes.
Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty and earthy flavour and a dense texture that, once cooked, it is similar to sweet potatoes, which makes it suitable to be an excellent match with many other vegetables and meat. It can be mashed, roasted, steamed and it will always be an excellent addition to any recipe.
My go-to way of cooking it is to prepare a quick and spicy butternut squash sauce to add on top of an indulgent spaghetti bowl. The combo rosemary + the red pepper chilli flakes emphasize the butternut squash’s flavour and as a result, it makes a very fragrant pasta sauce. It is a balanced meal option for vegetarians, however, the cheese could be easily swapped with nutritional yeast if you are on a vegan diet. It is a great last-minute, family friendly recipe to pick when you don’t have much time as the procedure to make the creamy sauce is very simple: the squash will be ready while the pasta is cooking!
Ingredients for 2:
- 300g of spaghetti pasta
- Half a medium butternut squash,
- Half a leek, cleaned and cut into thin slices
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of chilli flakes (or black pepper
- 100g of grated Parmesan cheese (other vegan or vegetarian cheese)
Bring to boil the water for the pasta.
When the water is simmering, add a tbsp of salt and the spaghetti.
Prepare the vegetables:
- Wash the leek thoroughly and slice it thinly.
- Peel the butternut squash, then cut it into cubes.
To facilitate the procedure, I often find that peeling the whole squash with a potato peeler is easier compared to do it after it is cut in half.
In a pan set over high heat, drizzle the oil and start to fry the leek with the chilli flakes for a couple of minutes to release their aroma.
After the base for the sauce is ready, add the squash cubes and a cup of salted pasta water. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain the spaghetti “al dente”, meaning when they are almost fully cooked, and make sure of sparing an extra cup of the water that will be useful to make the sauce looser later on.
When the squash is soft, blend it with the help of a food processor until you obtain a butternut squash puree.
Put the butternut squash sauce back in the pan with the spaghetti and set over medium heat.
Splash with a couple of spoons of the pasta water if it is too thick, and stir well to allow the flavours to combine.
Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of red pepper flakes and the freshly grated Parmesan or other vegetarian/vegan cheese.
Would you like more healthy and easy recipes with butternut squash?
Check this out: One pot butternut squash and mushroom risotto