Happy Halloween! Naturally, Halloween requires a little pumpkin (or squash, as it were). This is a hearty autumn recipe inspired by a dish from Washington, D.C.'s Birch & Barley restaurant. I've called for red kuri squash, but feel free to use any winter squash such as acorn, or kabocha.
Why my ingredient choices? I'm allergy central. As you may now know, I am allergic to cow dairy so I've used two sheep milk cheeses. Soy too- no can do. When I want a rich neutral flavor, I prefer Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread. I'm gluten-free as well, hence the brown rice pasta. I often use quinoa pasta, but find that the nuttiness of the brown rice is preferable in this instance.
HEARTY AUTUMN PASTA
- 1 small red kuri squash, deseeded and cubed
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, thick ends cut off
- 8 ounces brown rice pasta
- 4 shallots, minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread
- 8 ounces stock
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 dashes cinnamon
- 2 dashes ground coriander
- 2 dashes ground allspice
- 2 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled
- 2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss squash with a splash of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a pinch of salt and pepper in a pyrex roasting pan. Cook until tender and starting to brown. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the broccoli rabe for a few minutes. Drain, chop into inch-long pieces including the stems, and set aside.
In the large pot, sweat the shallots and garlic in a splash of EVOO. Add the stock and Earth Balance, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions and reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
Add the squash, broccoli rabe, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, coriander and allspice to the shallot mixture. Toss together over low heat. Add in the pasta and toss. Add starchy water as needed a little at a time so that the pasta is not too dry. Toss in the cheeses, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.