About a month ago I posted a recipe for Pesto Sauce that is simple and a great use for all the basil that’s coming up in our garden. The recent cooler weather was perfect for cooking up a squash in the oven and adding some pesto sauce.
After a productive harvesting session of our basil patch, I mixed up a few batches of Pesto Sauce and put them in the freezer for that fresh, wonderful taste of summer later in the year. Our freezer is stocked with Marion berries, green beans, pesto sauce, basil, blueberries and some blackberries I foraged from a field near our home. Gosh, it’s fantastic to take advantage of the summer’s offerings.
The warmer weather looks to be around for a while so keep this recipe in mind for the middle of September into fall.
Wine pairing: Macchia Wines’ 2011 Mischievous Zinfandel. It’s easy to say a Sauvignon Blanc would pair well with a dish that features pesto sauce due to its tendency toward minerality but a medium-bodied Zinfandel will stand up to the basil, garlic and sharp and salty flavor of Parmesan (if you’re using Parmesan instead of nutritional yeast). I like my Pesto Sauce heavy on basil and garlic so Macchia’s Zinfandel was a bold move that did not disappoint.
Penne with Butternut Squash, Pesto and Almonds
3 quarts water
8 oz whole wheat or brown rice penne
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼” thick sticks *I actually use acorn squash
2 shallots, thinly sliced
¼ tsp pepper
½ C pesto
¼ C sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
In a 4-6 quart stockpot over high heat, bring water to a boil, add the penne and cook 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-12” skillet over medium high heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Stir in the shallots, pepper, and the remaining ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash and shallots are tender, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving ½ C of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the pesto and the squash mixture. If it seems too dry, add ¼ to ½ C of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta to plates or a platter and, if desired, garnish with almonds. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Note: I actually added cooked vegie burgers to boost the protein in this dish. If you’re going to do this, make sure you add more pasta water to the dish to keep everything moist.
Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch