It feels good to be back in the kitchen. I've spent the past week saying a final goodbye to a dear uncle who meant the world to myself and my family. I just got back from Chicago, where there were a lot of tears, but also a lot of toasts shared. It's hard to pull yourself out and get back on track after such an event. I've often said that cooking in therapy for me. This week, that's certainly the case.
This week, the husband wanted two things - butternut squash (no more pumpkin) from the CSA and some kind of pasta. I've got a whole lot of stash from last week's share that I haven't gotten to yet, so I wanted to add another element into this pasta. Not long ago, I had a fabulous dinner at Ten Center Street in Newburyport. It comprised of gnocchi in a maple-cream sauce with roasted butternut squash and mustard greens. That dish, was the inspiration for this one. However, I set out to make this dish a little more weeknight friendly. I did create this dish using heavy cream, however, if you'd like to make this a bit healthier, feel free to use 1/2 cup of milk instead and cut back on the pasta water used to thin the sauce.
Maple Butternut Squash Penne with Mustard Greens
1 small to medium butternut squash, halved, seeds and stringy parts discarded
2 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon cloves, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk if you'd like, just cut down on pasta water)
1/4- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water (to thin sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 bunch mustard greens, washed, leaves sliced from stem, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash halves skin side down in baking dish coated with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1.5 teaspoons maple syrup over the squash. Sprinkle with 1/8 a teaspoon cinnamon and cloves and a dash of salt. Roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool several minutes so you can handle it.
At this point, cook pasta according to directions, drain while reserving cooking water. While the penne is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, add shallot and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes. When shallot and garlic are slightly tender, add mustard greens and cook down over medium heat, until slightly wilted yet a touch crispy.
Now your squash should be cool enough to handle. Scrape out the flesh into a saucepan, add cream, reserved cooking water, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and cloves, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt. Use an immersion blender to combine, over medium heat. If you don't have an immersion blender, combine all ingredients above in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and transfer back to sauce pan. Now add chopped sage and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and stir sauce until blended.
Toss sauce with warm pasta and top with the mustard greens and enjoy!