Pasta with Butternut Squash, Capers and Raisins

This recipe comes from my mom – she’s been making it for years.  I’ve just changed a few things – I bake the squash instead of boiling it, which makes it sweeter (I think), I use less oil to cook the onions, and for meat-eaters I serve a bit of fried chorizo on top.  Oh, and a splash of wine, red or white, in the sauce, if I’ve got some on hand.

This is comfort food at its best – it tastes great, and it’s good for you.  I serve it on brown rice pasta, which is better for you and tastes so good, and works better for all the people who need to have gluten-free recipes.  I prefer the texture of it to whole wheat pasta, which seems grainier to me.  Just make sure you don’t overcook it – I always check it a few minutes before the recommended cooking time is up.

What you need:

1 medium-sized butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 finely diced onion

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 dried chili pepper, crumbled

1 – 796mL can plum tomatoes, chopped and undrained

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon capers

salt and pepper

pasta, 3-4 cups cooked, keeping in mind that 1/2 cup or cooked pasta is one serving

chorizo sausage, optional (if you’re in Vancouver, Windsor meats on Main street makes their own amazing chorizo)

parmesan to grate on top, optional (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre)

What you do:

1.  Cut squash in half, remove seeds and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30-ish minutes at 350F, or until a knife pierces it very easily.  Let it rest until it is cool enough to handle.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then add the onion, cooking for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and chili peppers and cook for another minute.

3.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, along with the raisins, capers, salt and pepper and optional wine.  Let this cook for 20-30 minutes, or until much of the liquid has evaporated.  During this time you can boil the water and cook the pasta when the sauce is almost ready.

4.  Cut the squash into cubes.  I make cuts in it while it’s still in the peel, then scoop the squares out.  Carefully stir the squash into the tomato sauce, then combine with the pasta.

Top with a few slices of chorizo and some freshly grated parmesan.  So good, and fabulous as a leftover for my lunch today!



Quick Lemon Pasta

Looking for ways to use up my bumper crop of arugula, I made up this easy pasta dish.  You can easily substitute the arugula for fresh basil; just use a little less.  It’s a super fast meal to prepare!

What you need:

Pasta (I used brown rice spaghetti by Tinkyada)

fresh lemon juice

parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre)

arugula or fresh basil

salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  Cook the pasta in lots of water.

2.  Squeeze lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon per person.  Mix it with a tablespoon or two of parmesan per person, a big drizzle or olive oil, and salt and pepper.

3.  Chop arugula roughly and place in the bottom of a bowl.  Place hot pasta on top of the arugula so the arugula wilts a tiny bit from the heat of the pasta.  Pour the lemon mixture over top and mix it all up.

4.  Enjoy!

lemon block print