Monday, November 9, 2009

Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole

The sad thing about this meal is, it doesn’t look the least bit as delicious at it tasted. Don’t you hate that? I found this recipe on Whole Foods website or newsletter (one of the two, I can’t remember), and was intrigued. I’m always looking for new ways to cook butternut squash, as I’ve received one in just about every CSA share for quite a few weeks. I’m pretty sure I’ve never made anything with coconut milk, so I was unsure of how it would pair with the squash and sage.

One thing is for sure, it smelled amazing when I was preparing it! The end result was warm, rich, nutty, and comforting. A perfect dish on a cold day. The sage is a traditional compliment to the squash, and the toasted nuts add a nice crunch. I was surprised to learn this dish is also vegan! As Lesley pointed out in my Cous Cous Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries post, vegan cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or tasteless. While I don’t plan on converting to vegan, or even vegetarian, I believe the more dishes I can enjoy that happen to fulfill those guidelines is fine with me! Also, this meal is dairy-free so if you need a dish to serve to a friend who is lactose intolerant, try this! 😉


Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole

adapted from Whole Foods


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped sage
¾ pound dried whole wheat penne
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
½ cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish; set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add squash, coconut milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in sage and simmer 1 minute more. (This part can be made ahead, up to 1 day in advance.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Transfer squash mixture to bowl with penne. Add walnuts, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until just golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

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