Reds, oranges, yellows mixing with the year’s last shades of green.
The other night our friend came over for dinner. We always lean toward hearty Italian dishes.
I love a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, don’t get me wrong.
But my partner in cuisine crime and I had just been to the mountains where Fall was blooming.
I also added cannellini beans for a bit of texture and protein, since this is a vegetarian dish.
Here’s what you need for my harvest pasta:
- 1 box of rigatoni
- 1 butternut squash
- 3 small zucchini
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5 Roma tomatoes
- 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Fresh basil, Italian parsley, and Romano cheese for garnish
Here’s how you do it:
Preheat your oven to 425.
Prepare the butternut squash. First, cut the stem off. Then cut the bulb off. So you’ll have two pieces, the neck and the bulb.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
Cut the bulb in half. Scoop out the seeds, and roast them for a snack if you’d like.
Cut each half of the bulb into cubes.
Drizzle on one tbsp. of the oil and sprinkle on a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss.
Roast the cubes for 20-25 minutes, flipping the cubes halfway through.
Put a large pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 3 tbsp. oil.
You can throw away the cloves now. As the great Anne Burrell says, “It has fulfilled its garlic destiny.”
In other words, the garlic infused the oil with its flavor.
In the meantime, dice the tomatoes.
Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir.
Cook, stirring frequently, while you cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Remember to salt the water.
When the pasta is done, reserve a cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
Add the cooked butternut squash and the drained/rinsed beans to the pan of vegetables. Stir.
Toss the sauce with the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid and stir. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining cooking liquid.
Look at this food! I can’t get enough of the colors!
The butternut squash is sweet. There’s a bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. The bell pepper has a bit of a bite.
This meal tastes even better because the squash, tomatoes, bell pepper and zucchini came from our farmers’ market and the basil and parsley came from our yard. So fresh!
You could easily make this on a weeknight. Roast the butternut squash in the morning before work (call me crazy, I know) or do it the night before. Just put the roasted squash in the fridge and then add it according to my recipe. It’ll heat through in no time.
Every year I get hungry for Fall. Now I have another reason.
Tip: You could easily use pumpkin or acorn squash in place of the butternut squash. Use whatever you can find. Don’t stop at zucchini and bell pepper. Try mushrooms, onions, or broccoli. You could also add sausage.