rigatoni_with_butternut_squash_sauce_and_prawns.jpg

It is not very often that I feature recipes of celebrity chefs on this blog. Of course, I watch cooking shows, frequently and I have my favorites, but mostly they give me ideas and inspiration for creating my own recipes. I will learn a new technique and I will want to try it out – not necessarily in the same way as it was laid out on TV. However, it just so happened that I fell in love with two recipes done by everyone’s favorite Italian chef – Giada De Laurentiis ( I will post the second recipe at a later date). This dish, is a pasta dish where the sauce is made from squash. I love squash and I am always looking for new and interesting ways to cook this, and I was just enamored by this dish. So for once, I followed a recipe exactly how it was written. There are of course a few changes I would make in the future, which I will note at the end of this post, but all in all it was a delicious and unique dish! It is perfect to stock away for the fall season when many of you will have gardens or farm shares overflowing with squash. You will appreciate this recipe then!

butternut_squash.jpg

INGREDIENTS:

6 TBS olive oil
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use acorn squash or even pumpkin for this sauce)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable stock (you could use chicken as well – but I like that she used the veggie, as it is suitable for vegetarians)
1 lb of rigatoni (round short tubes)
1 lb of prawns , peeled and deveined
1 cup whole milk
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup grated parmesan

METHOD:

butternut_squash_sauce.jpg

Warm 3 TBS of olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, garlic, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Sautee until the squash is golden and tender (about 5-7 minutes). Transfer the squash into a food processor and puree until smooth. Keep the skillet to the side.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally (about 8-10 minutes). Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 TBS of olive oil in the skillet. Sprinkle prawns with 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the skillet and cook until just pink (about 3 minutes).
In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash and ¾ cup of milk. Stir to combine. Add the prawns, basil and cheese. Stir until mixed together and serve.

So here is what I would change. I felt that the sauce was a little thick and gummy. So I would add at least 1/8 cup of pasta water to the sauce and possibly a little more milk. As all squash are different and therefore will contain different amounts of water, you will have to eyeball it and check for desired consistency. I would also add all the liquids together to make the sauce FIRST, then add the pasta and coat it with the sauce, then add the prawns, basil and cheese. I would also serve the dish with extra parm – cause that never hurts!

But all in all this was a delicious recipe and something I will likely make again, with modifications of course!