Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Butternut Squash & Radicchio Pappardelle

M. and I are well settled into a cooking routine: I cook two nights a week, he cooks two nights a week and the others are up for grabs. We cook together, go out, or have a dinner party. The days, all filled with good food, go by quickly.

Last week I was determined to cook something sophisticated yet easy. I am still proving my culinary prowess and am keen on recipes that deliver a lot of good flavor with not a lot of effort. It also had to be a frugal meal -- I'm still waiting for my first paycheck from a new job to be deposited firmly into my bank account.

The pasta came together quickly and easily as promised. I lit candles and put out cloth napkins. We ate this hearty, vegetarian pasta and drank a generous glass of Cabernet. The pasta was immensely satisfying. Earthy and bitter because of the radicchio, sweet from the squash, all mixed with buttery slippery noodles. It is a recipe I will keep and love because its sophistication belies just how easy (and inexpensive) it was to make.

Butternut Squash & Radicchio Pappardelle
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine -- January 2009 issue
1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used a little less and it was just fine)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts -- or try pine nuts, as the original recipe suggested.
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 lb radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1 (8 to 9 oz) package of pappardelle, broken into large pieces
Parm Reggiano to grate over finished pasta

1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, cook until butter is golden brown, about two minutes. Add oil, then nuts, and cook, stirring, until nuts are golden & fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Add squash to skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden ad just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add radicchio and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until wilted and just tender, 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile cook pappardelle in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining pasta. Add pasta to radicchio mixture with 1/2 cup of the pasta water and toss over low heat until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add more cooking water to moisten if necessary.
4. Spoon into bowls, top with walnuts and cheese, and serve.
Serves 4 as a main course

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