butternut squash

Garlicky Penne with Butternut Squash, Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Beans

I've stopped accidentally marking things with "2016," which is how I know we're fully set in the new year. I'm kind of excited to see what these months have in store for us. There are lots of unknowns, of course, but unlike previous years where I felt nervous about the uncertainty of it all, I'm now going to try to approach it all a little differently. Try and go with the flow a bit more. I don't have any resolutions this year. There are the same ones that linger with me each day... read more, exercise more, travel.  On that last item, I think we're going to struggle a bit with finding time to do a big trip this year as this past fall, Eric and I (along with his brother and his wife) purchased a house on the Cape.  It needs a bit of love, so we'll be spending any available days working on that. With that said, the two of us are looking at doing a couple of long weekends this winter to some spots around New England. This weekend, we'll be staying in Northampton. It's a cute town, one that I really haven't spent much time in (my last real visit was in '99). In February, we're hoping to take a drive up to Portland, which has been on my list for a while. From what I've heard, has an incredible culinary scene (which is just what we want to experience when we travel). Always looking for recommendations (though we have quite the list going here), so if anyone's been, feel free to share your favorite spots. 

GARLICKY PENNE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BROCCOLI RABE AND CANNELLINI BEANS  

SERVINGS
6 people

INGREDIENTS
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 lb broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed
1, 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained of liquid and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 lb box of penne
Olive oil
Salt
Red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. In a bowl, toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread across the baking pan in a single layer. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, stirring the butternut squash every 15 minutes to allow it to cook evenly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne as directed on the box, but five minutes before it is done cooking, add the broccoli rabe. When the five minutes are up, drain the pasta and broccoli rabe into a colander. Transfer to a serving bowl.

In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add beans to the pan and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour garlic, beans, and olive oil on top of the pasta and toss to coat the penne with oil. Transfer roasted butternut squash to the serving bowl, followed by the toasted almonds and red pepper flakes, and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, season with additional salt. 

Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree

I never plan very far ahead when it comes to holiday meals, so it's kind of funny that I'm here writing about Valentine's Day. It's not even something Eric and I celebrate. Not in the way that some couples do. There are no chocolates or flowers, gifts or even cards. If we're feeling romantic, we might give the other one a tap on the shoulder and say "Hey, I love you." "Love you too." Done.

We do take the opportunity to cook up something a bit fancier than we'd normally prepare on a normal night and this often means scallops or lobster. There's usually Champagne, because we'll use any excuse to pick up a bottle. And then we sit back and binge on whatever TV show we're obsessed with. That's married life, right there. That's how we roll.

I'm excited to make these seared scallops again in a few weeks, mainly because Eric hasn't tried them yet. Each time I've made them, I've managed to cook and eat the whole plate before he gets home. Sorry, babe. You'll get a taste of these on the 14th. Promise. 

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Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree

Yield Serves 4

Ingredients
For the butternut squash puree
1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt
1 tablespoon butter
Garam masala

For the quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
2 apples
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ounce lemon juice
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the seared scallops
1 pound sea scallops
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Trim both ends of the butternut squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of both halves and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them. Place the halves face down (that's the cut side) on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh.

2. While the butternut squash is cooking, prepare the quinoa. Place the quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, open the lid, and let cool.

3. Transfer the flesh of the butternut squash to a blender (or you can put it in a bowl and use an immersion blender), along with 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.

4. Transfer the quinoa into a bowl, along with chopped apple, parsley. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa salad and toss to combine.

5. Dry the sea scallops with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.

6. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter on high heat.  Once it begins to smoke, add the scallops and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until it has browned on one side.  Using tongs, flip the scallops and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops.

7. To plate, start by spooning 3 tablespoons of butternut squash puree onto the plate (or shallow bowl). Top with a couple spoonfuls of quinoa salad, followed by the seared scallops. Spoon some of the remaining melted butter from the pan on top of the scallops.

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Fall Veggie Pot Pie

FALL VEGGIE
FALL VEGGIE POT PIE
FALL VEGGIE POT PIE

Fall Veggie Pot Pie

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place olive oil in a large saute pan and set to medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute.

3. Add the butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and turnip to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mix in peas and take the pan off heat.

4. In a saucepan, heat the butter at medium heat.  Once it has melted, add the flour and whisk until combined.  Whisk in the vegetable broth 1/2 a cup at a time. Whisk in the heavy cream.  Remove from heat.

5. Pour cream mixture over cooked vegetables and toss to combine.  Mix in parsley.

6. Transfer mixture to a 9 by 9 glass baking dish.

7. Top with puff pastry sheet and fold into sides of pan.

8. Bake for 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.