Friday, October 24, 2014

Pesto Paparadelle With Cayenne Butternut Squash

'Tis the season for butternut squash!

What is your favorite pasta? Mine has to be paradelle. It's a large, broad, and flat noodle. I love the noodles that flops over your fork, yet fat enough that it gives a certain satisfying kind of mouthfeel. ("mouthfeel" = a physical and chemical reaction in the mouth that occurs from the initial perception on the palate to the first bite. In more simple terms, the "texture". Have definitely been watching too much Australia's Master Chef, which by the way, is ten times better than the American or Canadian version). I think the thickness of the noodle also allows more of the sauce to hang on to it, giving each bite just that much more flavour.

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent into la la food dreamland, (as I've been doing way too often already), this is how I made this delicious, yet simple pasta.

I have to say that this Fall, one of the biggest and bestest time saver (and yes, I know bestest is not a word), is freezing premade pesto cubes. My dad had grown an abundance of herbs, including copious amounts of basil, so the only natural thing to do to save them, was to make homemade pesto and freeze them in ice cube trays.

Blend together in a blender :

2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 minced garlic
1/3 cup parmesan-reggiano cheese

These are approx. measurements as we usually just dump in whatever we have. Freeze them into cubes, and then pop them all into a clean bag. So whenever I'm feeling lazy, I'll boil up some pasta and mix in a couple cubes of pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste. It's so, so good.

I did exactly that with this recipe. Boiled the pasta and added the frozen cube pesto. Then, I roasted some butternut squash to go on top. Recipe from Rachel Ray.

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
oil to coat
salt and pepper
1/8 cinnamon
1/8 cayenne pepper

Mix all above and roast for 20-25 mins under 425C.

I'll have to admit that they both taste amazing separately. But I wasn't so big on the cinnamon Fall flavour pairing with pesto. I would definitely make these two again but for separate dishes. Perhaps some roasted tomatoes or garlic-sauteed tomatoes with some chicken on top of the pesto, and the butternut squash dish as a side with other Fall vegetables. Definitely adding to my "easy, no fuss" repetoire though.

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