Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Sage

During quarantine I think many have been finding that the daily walks are a time to clear your head and maybe reset between work and relaxation. It was during one of these walks that I kept thinking about this butternut squash and what I was going to create with it. Although it is “spring” here in New England, the weather quite has not caught up. That’s why I wanted to turn this recipe into something that was warm and hearty, but also still had elements of freshness and bright notes. This recipe exceeded everything I thought of during my walk, and I hope when you create it, it will exceed your expectations too!

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Sage

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A warm pasta dish with loads of bright notes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1 small-medium spaghetti squash
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, or 1 package frozen spinach drained of liquid
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1 medium onion
  • fresh parsley
  • a nutty/pepper Parmesan
  • 1 tsp chicken base

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Wash, peel, and cut the butternut squash into ~1 inch cubes.
  2. Add a tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to the squash, tossing to coat, and then roast until tender (20 min) flipping halfway through.
  3. Put on a pot of salted water for the pasta as you continue to prep the sauce
  4. Dice the onion. In a dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of butter, set to medium heat and then add in the onion. Stirring continuously. Once the onions begin to get translucent, add in the sage (dried sage is best, but if you have ground sage that will work as well). Continue to cook until starts to brown.
  5. When the onions have begun to caramelize add in a 1/2 teaspoon of chicken base and 1/2 cup of water. Make sure to get all of the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the raw spinach and a lid to the dutch oven to begin to wilt it down.
  7. About this time, your squash should be ready, and your pasta water boiling. Add the roasted squash to the dutch oven.
  8. Just before you drain your pasta, add one ladle worth of liquid to the pan. (this starchy water will help build up your sauce to cling to your pasta). Then drain and add everything to the pan. Now add your lemon zest.
  9. Stir everything in the pot for a few moments before platting and finishing.
  10. Finish with fresh parsley and LOTS of grated cheese.
  11. ENJOY!

Sausage over creamy Polenta

This recipe came to be after a 20 mile bike ride where we found ourselves starving and looking for something that was easy but also a little bit of a reward (I mean we did just bike 20 miles!) so we came to this recipe! And have made it many times since!

Sausage Over Creamy Polenta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A creamy satisfying revamp of sausage and peppers.

Ingredients

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 6 Italian Sausage (hot or sweet)
  • 1 Onions
  • 1 Cup Polenta
  • 2.5 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Milk, or a splash of cream
  • 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • A dollop of mustard and garlic powder

Directions

  1. Slice peppers and onions into strips, cook in a skillet until tender.
  2. Grill the sausage.
  3. Follow the instructions for cooking polenta as dictated on package. Mine called for three cups of water to 1 cup of polenta. I added 1/2 Cup milk to help boost the creaminess. Once the polenta is cooked, about 30 minutes, add in the garlic and mustard (just a little to help bring out the creaminess), and the Parmesan.
  4. Once everything is ready, assemble and enjoy!

Stuffed Up

Goat Cheese and Bread Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A unique twist on stuffed peppers with light airy filling.

Ingredients

  • 6 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 loaf crusty bread
  • 6oz crumbled goat cheese
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • powdered garlic
  • tablespoon oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash and dry peppers and grill whole until tender and blistered. If you do not have a grill, these can be roasted in an oven. 425 for 20 minutes.
  2. Once peppers are tender, cut off the tops and carefully remove the seeds. Create a small opening, but maintain some structural integrity of the pepper.
  3. Cut your bread into 1/2 inch cubes and toast in a pan or oven with oil and a light dusting of garlic powder.
  4. Once toasted, combine in a bowl with chopped capers, the lemon zest, and the goat cheese.
  5. Stuff into the peppers and enjoy!

Dreaming of Pop tarts

The other day I woke up and knew I had to make homemade pop tarts, the timing of it wasn’t super great since I woke up at 9 and had to be somewhere by 10:30…but alas I knew I wanted to make them so it had to happen.  Thankfully the hardest part is rolling out the dough, and the effort was well worth the end result.  Take this format to remake your favorite flavors with your own twist, either way, your brunch game is going to be elevated!

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups of flour +extra for rolling
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons water
  • 2 pinches salt

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon flour, 1 tablespoon apple sauce
  • raspberry jam
  • chocolate chips and marshmallow

Icing

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar with orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar with cinnamon and brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon water
  • Nutella

How to:

  1. Begin by making the dough.  This is a basic pie dough and it is most vital to have very cold butter and cold water. I use a food processor to combine everything and pulse the butter into pea size pieces.
  2. Pour onto a surface and form into a loose ball.  Use your palm to flatten parts of the dough ball, spreading out the butter.  This will make the flakiest crust.  Once you get all the butter spread, form into a loose ball and place into a freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Roll out to 1/4 inch, then cut into a square and cut into additional 2×2 inch squares.
  4. Roll these into long rectangles as thin as possible and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Once you have all of these laid out, fill half with whatever filling you choose.  Then fold over into a small pocket and seal each side with a fork.
  6. Throw on a quick egg wash and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let cool slightly before putting on the icing. Eat and enjoy!

Cinnamon Buns: The Easiest Thing You Didn’t Know you Could Make

Cinnamon Buns always have been a treat in my house, we nearly exclusively had them on Christmas morning and other select holidays.  I will also admit that most of these occasions they were made from a can, therefore I always assumed they were difficult to make.  But the new year blessed me with a new gift: my grandmother’s 30 year old kitchen aid perfectly restored by my Uncle.  So I had to christen it with something special, something I have never thought to make before.  I am so happy I did, because the result was well worth it.  This recipe is so easy and it lasted me a week of indulgent breakfasts.  Make them over the weekend and your future self and all the friends you bless these with will thank you.  So be intimidated no longer, make these today, tomorrow, every weekend until the end of time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon fast rising yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

 

How to:

  1. Begin by attaching the dough hook onto the kitchen aid.  Add in the warm milk, yeast and sugar to the mixer.  Let stir on low for 5 to 10 minutes until fully incorporated.
  2. Add in the salt and butter and let stir then add in the egg and turn up the speed just to get everything incorporated.
  3. Begin to add in the flour one cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the walls of the bowl. I used just about 2.5 cups of flour with about half a cup left over for rolling out later.
  4. Once the dough has mixed for an additional 7 minutes, transfer to a greased bowl and let rise for an hour.  My dough had a tendency to not rise significantly, don’t be alarmed, as long as if you poke it, it bounces back a bit, its ready.
  5. On a floured cutting board roll out the dough.  You made need to add a bit of flour to the top to make it easier to roll out.  Spread the melted butter all over the rolled out dough, be generous about it.  Then combine the cinnamon and sugar together and heavily (and evenly) dust the whole dough with the cinnamon sugar. Roll up tightly along the long ways.
  6. The easiest way to cut these is actually with dental floss. Begin by cutting it in half, then 1/4, then 1/8 so you have about inch think rings.  Place into a pan with about an inch of space in between pieces, and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  7. Then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until golden.
  8. I purposefully left out an icing recipe, 1 because I was eating it without them and 2 I didn’t make a icing I felt was worthy of these excellent rolls, so experiment for yourself and see what you like!
  9. Enjoy these every weekend!

 

 

For a savory rendition check back in a few days, because I have a twist on this great recipe!

 

Cotechino Sausage with Cous Cous Saute

Last week I went to hear Mario Batali talk at Harvard, and everything he talked about brought me right back to Italy this summer, and my god I missed it.  After listening to him talk and watch him cook for an hour, I kicked myself for letting my passion for cooking and maintaining this blog fall by the way side. But it is a new month, soon to be a new year, and the time to change is now. This recipe took parts from what I saw while at Mario, and turned it into a new dish.  This sausage was what Mario made for us and I am obsessed.  It has so much flavor, probably from how many types of meat are in it and it also comes from Modena, so naturally it is fantastic. This can be made vegetarian and is a simple fantastic meal to enjoy whenever.

Ingredients:

  • Cotechino sausage (or other Italian Sausage)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3/4 cup cooked cous cous
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

How to:

  1. Slice the sausage into disks.
  2. In a pan, place your butter in and then cook the sausage until crispy and a dark/golden brown on the edges.
  3. Remove the sausage from the pan and place on the side.
  4. Take your zucchini and onion and shred them.
  5. Then add them into the same pan your were cooking the sausage in, add in the garlic
  6. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook down until everything is tender.
  7. Add in the cous cous and continue to cook for a few minutes until incorporated.
  8. Add in the parmesan and cook on low heat until everything gets cheesy.
  9. Remove from heat and add the sausage back in.
  10. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic dressing and more cheese, and enjoy!