I love butternut squash, but I associate it as a cold weather food. When it first started showing up at my local farmer’s market, it was still hot out and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one. But in recent weeks we’ve started to see some cooler nights and even a bit of rain here and there. I finally felt the weather was appropriate for consuming winter squashes so I went ahead and bought one, and It was a good thing I did.
A few days later while biking home from work, I had a craving for something with nutmeg. Usually I’m not the biggest fan of nutmeg, but it can add a great twist of flavor to creamy pasta dishes. It also pairs nicely with winter squashes. So as soon as I got home, I started working on a pasta dish combining squash and nutmeg.
What I came up with a fun fall pasta dish that satisfied my craving. By thickening plain unsweetened soy milk, I got a light yet creamy base with background notes of garlic, leeks and nutritional yeast punctuated by fall flavors of sage and nutmeg. These flavors smother tender whole wheat pasta, kale and sweet chunks of squash.
Creamy Fall Fettuccini with Butternut Squash and KaleServes 3-4
- 2 Leeks, thouroughly washed inside and out, 1/4″ chopped
- 2 tbs Canola Oil
- 2 tbs All Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 cups Plain Unsweetened Soy Milk
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Dried sage, rubbed
- 1/2 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
- 3 tbs Nutritional Yeast
- A few dashes Cayenne Pepper
- A few grinds of Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Butternut Squash, peeled, 1/2″ cubes
- 2 cups Kale Leaves, stems discarded, roughly chopped.
- 1/2 lb Whole Wheat Fettuccini
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- First, steam the squash. Add the squash to a steamer basket over boiling water and add the squash. Cook until a knife can be easily inserted with some resistance. Remember, the squash will continue cooking a bit from the residual heat after you remove it from the steamer.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium high heat.
- Add the leeks and cook stirring frequently until soft and just starting to brown. Add the flour and mix in rapidly, thoroughly coating the leeks until no longer white.
- Slowly whisk in the soy milk, letting the flour dissolve in smoothly. Once all of the soy milk has been added, whisk in the sage (rubbed through your fingers), nutmeg, nutritional yeast, cayenne, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low to simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Add the pasta and kale to the boiling water. The pasta and kale should both be done in about ten minutes, but be sure to check them both often after the first five minutes of cook time.
- When the pasta is done, drain and set aside. Once the sauce is thick and creamy, add the steamed squash and lemon juice to the sauce. Give a quick stir, then add the pasta and kale and mix until it is throughly coated with the sauce. I the sauce isn’t thick enough, continue cooking, stirring frequently until it is desired thickness. Serve immediately.