Christmas with the family usually means copious amounts of ham, turkey and sarma (cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and onion) but there are few vegetarian options. The sides and salads are all there, but there isn’t really a main dish. That’s why I made a butternut squash pasta dish this year. The recipe comes straight out of How to Eat Supper. I picked this recipe for many reasons: I had a butternut squash, the roasted veggies can be made in advance and pasta boils quickly. Throwing this together in the midst of all the other kitchen chaos was easy. So imagine how easy it would be if it were the only thing happening in the kitchen.
I also picked this one because the recipes in this book require few, if any, changes. Next time I might skip the half and half in favor of whatever milk I have or a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, but since it was Christmas I went with the fatty version. It reheats well and keeps nicely! So here’s the recipe and at the end you’ll find links to some foods I’ve featured that are considered lucky if eaten on New Year’s. We’re planning to eat the red lentil soup or perhaps the lentil burgers. And we’ll each have 12 grapes with our champagne this year!
Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Endive over Farfalle
The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper, by Lynne Rosetto Kasper & Sally Swift
For the vegetables:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks*
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bunch endive, washed, dried and torn into small pieces
1/3 C tightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn
16 large fresh sage leaves, torn
5 large garlic cloves, coarse chopped
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 packed Tbsp brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
1 lb farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1- 1 1/2 C shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
½ cup half and half
Place a large sheet pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a gas stove, use the roasting pan from the bottom of your stove.
* The best way to cut the squash is to warm it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Then split the squash in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds, and place cut side down. Once flipped, cut it crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Now it will be easy to remove the peel. Cut the crescents of squash into 1-inch chunks, and you are finished!
In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients for the vegetables, and be generous with the salt and pepper. Carefully turn the squash blend onto the pre-heated pan and spread it out. Roast for 25 minutes, or until squash is tender, turning two or three times during roasting.
During the last 15 minutes or so of roasting time, cook pasta until tender but not soft, reserving about a half a cup of the pasta water.
When the squash is tender, turn on the broiler. It will probably be around 5 minutes under the boiler, but watch them closely!
Scrape vegetables into a serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta, half and half and cheese. Stir to blend, adding more pasta water or salt and pepper as needed.
Other good luck foods: cabbage, soba noodles, and circular cakes.