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Well, this was just delicious.  I half invented it, half combined flavors that I’ve eaten elsewhere, half listened to Jay’s African-eating experiences, and came up with this!

I’ve seen on TV lots of recipes that make a fake-creamy sauce by puree-ing squash, parsnip, or potato and had been wanting to use that method for awhile.  It worked really well, and the flavor combination in this particular dish was very very lovely.

It was easy too, duh.  I don’t do hard stuff.

That’s what she said.

For 4 servings of pasta (whatever the box says), you’ll need the following:

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half
  • parsley, for serving
  • parmesan, for serving

First, let’s get the squash ready.  Look at this funny pasta I got as a gift!  I liked it.

Preheat the oven to 425F while you prepare the squash.  We’re going to roast it first!

Cut the squash in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and flesh from the cavity.  Your fingers will feel weird after you do this.

Now, peel the squash!  I tried a paring knife, but in the end a vegetable peeler worked better for me.  You can use whatever safe, non-stress-inducing method you’d like to peel this bad boy.  The skin is thick!

Nice.  Now, cut the squash into long strips and cut crosswise to make little cubes.  I like larger pieces – they cook down quite a bit!

Now, grab your spices!

Look at all that flavor!  Put the squash in a baking dish or sheet and sprinkle it with cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Then drizzle the whole thing with olive oil.

Roast the squash for 30 minutes in the oven, stirring every ten minutes, until the squash is soft and your house smells like Christmas (or winter, don’t get all huffy) and the edges are kind of dark.

Like this!  Nice.  I ate a lot of this after it was cooked.  It was worth it.

While the squash is roasting, cook and drain your pasta and get your sauce started by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic.

Heat a pan to medium, and add the onion and crushed red pepper with a drizzle of olive oil.

Nice.  Let the onion soften for a few minutes and add the rest of the spices:  Garlic, saffron, turmeric, paprika, and a sprinkle of salt.

Stir the spices into the onion for 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the pan.

Ahhhhh.  Now things are smelling fabulous.  Turn the heat down so the stock doesn’t reduce too much.  Your squash should be done now, like in the picture above.

Put half the squash in a food processor or blender, and reserve the other half. Add a splash of chicken stock to the food processor, and pulse the squash until it’s nice and smooth.

Yep, you could totally feed that to your kid.  I took the liberty of grating some parm and picking some parsley (my mom bought me a plant and I nearly kill it everytime I use it because I love it SO much.  It’s kind of an Of Mice and Men situation. Ignore me.) so that my toppings would be ready when the pasta was – I was hungry.

Anyway.  Add the squash puree to the onion/spice mixture with another splash of chicken stock.

Then add the cream!

Now, stir everything all together and taste the sauce – add more salt or crushed red pepper if you’d like!  I like this really spicy because I think it’s a nice contrast to the sweetness of the squash.  Season it however you like!

Yum.  Now, to make things interesting, dump in the pasta and the rest of the squash, and stir everything all together!

For real, YUM.  I served this with cheese, parsley, and an extra sprinkle of salt.  You could add grilled chicken if you’re  a meat-freak, too!

A note on leftovers:  The squash gets thick in the fridge, so don’t freak out.  Add another splash of cream and chicken stock to the leftovers when you’re ready to eat them, microwave it, and move on.  It still tastes great!

These flavors are different but not in an offensive way – try some new spices with this interesting dish – you’ll love it!