Caramelized Red Kuri Squash Pasta Recipe: A savory and surprisingly hearty vegan/vegetarian pasta ready in about 30 minutes (with GF variation).
Pasta first — or news first? Let’s do pasta. Because, hello, it’s pasta. Or in Giada speak: PAHSS-teh. Luvluvluvluvluv.
This one has been in the queue for only way too long. Back before I tricked you into making Thanksgiving in under an hour (you guys — it’s tomorrow. If you don’t have a game plan, you might want to click that link). Before I turned your delicata into a beautiful mess of garlicky stickyness that is anything but delicate. And waaay before I left the country to eat all the ham products ever made. (I’m losing track of these attempts to shove my Instagram feed down your throats, so maybe just do us both a favor and follow me already, please/thanks.)
Caramelized Red Kuri Squash Pasta – An Obsession
And in that time, I’ve probably made this dish thrice more. Because 1) I’m more than slightly winter-squash obsessed. And 2) it’s just THAT good. Savory squash and earthy sage and that background of sweet-salty nuttiness that comes from cooking down veggies to the point of caramelization — in wine and brown sugar, no less. Add in a heap of my favorite short-cut pasta (not to be mistaken with shortcut pasta, for which there is also a time and place), and an almost-too-generous glug of sharp, grassy olive oil and I am content as can be.
Sliding my fork tines through each little tube of this Caramelized Red Kuri Squash Pasta (I like three to a fork — it’s cozy without being cramped) just boosts the merriment, OCD style. You might think I’m exaggerating, but this falls among things I genuinely classify as “fun” around here. You know, like setting a timer for 5 minutes and trying to vacuum the whole house before it goes off. Or adding “read magazines” to my daily to-do list so I know I’ll accomplish at least something before noon.
You’re looking at me like it’s time I found a hobby.
I’ll do you one better.
I, um, kinda started growing a baby. IN MY BODY.
Maybe no bazinga? You all knew that was coming. It’s all anyone ever expects when one of us says something like NEWS! in the post title. That or, I suppose, cookbook. But if you’re reading the words I’m putting on this page, it’s probably clear just how much sooner I’d be trusted with a baby than a publishing deal.
So. Baby it is!!!
I’m thinking of doing a separate post with a few more details of the whole preggers thing to-date (or would that just be totally annoying?) but the very basic details are this:
Chris and I are weepy, trembly lipped, little-nothing-glances-that-light-up-each-others-eyes (ew, gross, I know) — over the moon — happy. We’ve both been wanting a bambino for a while, and despite the fact that I am the least natural person around children/babies/small growing things ever, we’re more excited than we are nervous about the little he or she that will soon be making our teensy, cozy home that much cozier. (In related news, the basil plant I brought home this summer is kinda-sorta still alive, so things are looking hopeful.)
Within a couple of weeks, we’ll be at the halfway mark, so even though I feel like I’ve been pregnant for about the length of a sneeze — and we’ve been taking it pretty easy on the baby prep, just enjoying this experience and our time together as a twosome — all the shit-gets-real baby planning will be here before I know it. Good thing procrastination is not at all my thing.
*Nervous glances all around.*
So that’s the haps in Chez Pig these days, which is kind of a biggie in a household of two only children. (The grandmas-to-be are doing their best to contain their enthusiasm so as not to overwhelm, BUT WE CAN READ BETWEEN THE LINES, LADIES.)
I suppose it goes without saying that I have only too much to be thankful for this year — and, as always, that a large part of what fulfills my day (and week, and whole dang year) is the unfailing community, camaraderie and general goodness gleaned from all of you guys. *CLAPPING HANDS EMOJISSSSSS*
And forthcoming babies.
And all the wine I wish I were drinking.
Happy happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating this week and warm hugs and holiday wishes all around!
- 1 T avocado oil
- 2 T fresh sage, finely chopped
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp crushed red chile flakes
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- cracked black pepper
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ red kuri squash, shredded (about 3 cups)
- 2 heaping T dark brown sugar
- 2 T good (green and grassy is great here!) extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz short cut pasta, such as rigatoni (feel free to use a brown rice pasta for a GF variation)
- Peel, seed and shred squash with a box grater (preferred) or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade.
- Heat avocado or other light cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage, thyme and chile flakes and toast until sage is crisp, about 30 seconds.
- Add squash, salt, a few good grinds pepper and wine and continue cooking over med-high until liquid is almost gone and squash is tender and beginning to brown in places, about 10-15 mins.
- Meanwhile, boil pasta in lightly salted water until just shy of al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving about 1.5 cups pasta cooking water.
- Add brown sugar and ½ cup pasta water to squash mixture. Cook down once more until water is reduced and squash is thoroughly cooked and threatening to turn into mush, about 10 mins.
- Add pasta to skillet with another ½ cup pasta water and cook until sauce and pasta come together and pasta is al dente, about 5 mins, adding more pasta water a splash at a time if necessary. (If dish is becoming salty, use regular water.) Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, if needed.
- Turn off heat and gently stir through olive oil. Serve immediately.
If you're not vegan, follow Lindsay's lead and add in half a cup of grated parm or other Italian cheese with the first round of water (before you add the pasta). Super tasty.
For a gluten-free variation, feel free to sub in brown rice or other GF pasta.
These photos are SO dang gorgeous! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
Yay, you won’t be disappointed, Becky! I should have put in the recipe that you can totally do it with but-nut, too (if it’s easier to come by). Enjoy!
The pasta looks fabulous, and huge congratulations on your little on on the way!! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂
Thank you, Shannon. 🙂 Happiest of Turkey Days, to you, too!
Congratulations Em!!!! You are going to make some tasty baby food 😉
Let’s just keep those expectations niiiiiice and low for now, eh? 😉 (Thanks!)
Oh, man. That basil plant is a SUPER promising sign. I think you know how I feel about this. SO. EFFING. EXCITED.
I mean, it’s record breaking stuff, lady. Last week, I threw it a 3-month birthday in which I celebrated by picking all its leaves off so I could eat them with eggs and harissa on toast. Is this no longer a good sign? Awh, crap.
AHHHHH BEBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am just as excited as when I first stumbled on the FB status (and lost my shit, fyi) — BABY BABY BABY BABY!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!! ahhhh I can’t even contain it and may have myself gotten trembly-lipped happy when I read about how happy you two are. So perfect. So wonderful. So so so happy for you, Emily!!!! (And also, THIS PASTA. I loooooove squash pasta and this one looks so good that it makes me want to three-to-a-fork all those tubes but also get impatient and just tilt-the-bowl-and-shovel-Asian-style. Amazing.) Congrats congrats congrats again, Emily!!!
Awh, thank you thank you thank YOU, friend! I always love reading your comments — so sincere and fun, and they just make a girl want to hop a plane to New York! (But maybe not on the day before Thanksgiving…) Tilting the bowl Asian-style is probably my second favorite way to eat, well, almost anything out of a bowl, so you have my full support no matter which route you take. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Bowl #2! Hope it’s the best. <3
So the pasta looks super tasty but… congratulations!! How exciting! I immediately gchatted Chris after reading your post because I don’t think he’s announced here yet (or if he has, I totally missed it, haha!) I mentioned this to him already, and okay, maybe it’s a little weird because I’ve never met you before buuuttttt if you ever want a photoshoot (maternity or more lifestyle newborn session), you guys should let me know!
Ahhhh, hopefully I didn’t let the cat out of the bag over there! I think he’s been telling people as it comes up — but, you know, boys. 🙂 Thanks for the offer on the shoot! Never hurts to have a local photographer in the lil black book!
when I shared your post on Facebook earlier today, I didn’t realize you have ere pregnant. Now I’m reading it and have to say this is so great!
Haha, no worries, Jen! Thanks so much!
Holy heck – congratulations!! I cannot even express how happy I am for you. Being a mom is pretty much the best thing ever. I cannot wait to see this journey unfold for you it is going to be epic! Oh and this pasta is now on my must make list. YUM!
Thanks Meg, I can only imagine. We’re beyond excited — and, of course, a leeetle bit on edge — but it’s going to be an amazing adventure. Congrats on getting your oldest into her teen years with such grace! I’ll surely be knocking on your door for fellow momma advice, I just know it. 🙂
Congrats a million times over! Best wishes as you embark on this new and most exciting adventure!!
Thanks MoBeau! I see your whimsical vignettes coming in very handy ’round about story time. 🙂 (Slash I’m just addicted to them personally and the baby will have to deal…)
Ohmygoodness CONGRATS!!!! You’re gonna be the best mom on the block, I just know it. Eeeeeeeee!!!
ThankyouThankyouThankyou, Sara! I hope so. There are some pretty hot shit moms on the block ’round here in suburbia. Setting a pretty high bar! 😉
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Emily! So so so so excited and happy for you! You’re going to be the best mom ever and have the cutest little baby ever, I just know it! Now whenever you post a recipe I’m going to think of your little baby eating all this yummy stuff inside you – is that weird?! Maybe a little… but so cool! And so cute! Congratulations!
Thanks Grace! And of course that’s not weird. Let’s be real: if I were to think of something along those lines as weird, I feel like most of the daily going-ons in my head would be just off the charts, borderline-inappropriate, bizarro. And maybe they are. Regardless, I am charmed to think of you thinking of my little noshing piglet! It’s gonna be one heck of a good eater. 🙂
I don’t even know how I missed this. Because even though I already knew, I was waiting for the blog announcement and then somehow I missed it. Shoot. I am over the moon happy for you. Best mama award already coming your way. And since baby trumps pasta, I’ll get to the pasta now. YES to pasta that doesn’t take forever to get into your mouth and everything winter squashy. YAY YAY YAY to baby on the way and winter squash pasta galore. xxxxxxx
Awh, thanks for all the kind words and your enthusiasm, friend! Can’t wait to pick your brain to bits before we get our Maui on for the behbehmoon. I feel like shrimp truck and shave ice will be JUST the ticket when I’m counting down those last days… <3 you!!
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