November 29, 2022

Beteim

Health is important

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Walnuts

It’s officially sweater weather right?

This dish hits all of the notes of the season, delicious, beta-carotene-rich butternut squash and spinach for those B vitamins, put together with creamy, comforting pasta. It can be eaten immediately, or made ahead, kept warm or reheated. This simple dish comes together easily by using frozen, cubed butternut squash.

Pasta Water does Double Duty while Squash Roasts

Roasting the veggies makes clean up easy. You can move to another recipe step while the veggies are in the oven. And, it provides a deeper, sweeter flavor. In this recipe, I roast the frozen squash along with some onions, then get the pasta and sauce started while it’s in the oven.

You can steam the spinach quickly over the boiling pasta water before cooking pasta. While the pasta boils, start the sauce. Heat a small dutch oven or a large skillet. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic to the hot pan and saute garlic for 1 minute.  Heat the oil, add garlic, reduce heat and blend in milk, cream cheese, and parmesan until slightly thickened (add 1/4 to 1/2 cup pasta water to thin). Add about 1/2 cup of the roasted squash, and mash into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta, spinach, and onions to the pan, stirring to coat. Add the squash and gently fold. Garnish with the walnuts and Parmesan.

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Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN, www.rustnutrition.com

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce frozen cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach or frozen, drained
  • 1 pound shaped pasta shells, bow ties, rotini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish optional

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400F. Place squash and onions onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, turning after 15-20 minutes. Onions may be done in 20 minutes, if so, transfer them to a bowl and return squash to oven until lightly browned.

  • For pasta, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in large stockpot. Steam the spinach in a steamer basket, over the boiling water for about 2 minutes, until wilted. (Alternately, you can steam the spinach with 1/2 cup of water in the skillet you use for the sauce)

  • While the pasta boils, start the sauce.

  • Heat a small dutch oven or a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic to the hot pan and sauté garlic for 1 minute. Heat the oil, add garlic, reduce heat and blend in milk, cream cheese, and parmesan until slightly thickened (add 1/4 to 1/2 cup pasta water to thin).

  • Add about 1/2 cup of the roasted squash to the pan, and mash into sauce. Stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Add the cooked pasta, spinach, and onions to the sauce pan, stirring to coat. Add the squash and gently fold. Garnish with the walnuts and Parmesan.