Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Penne in Creamy Tomato Butternut Squash Sauce

It is going to be almost a month since my last post. Things have been busy in personal and family front. However I didn't want the whole month of January to go without a single note. Though I have been cooking and clicking frequently, the composing part had to take a back seat due to lack of time.
I love making pasta sauces from scratch but mostly I tried to build flavors upon store bought sauces. This is a hearty sauce which I made with leftover canned crushed tomatoes which I had used to make Minestrone soup. Pasta in tomato sauce is my little one's favorite meal and he didn't complain. Sneaking veggies is my favorite part and he didn't have a clue :).
Add any hearty winter vegetable in the place of or in addition to butternut squash in this soup. Carrots, parsnips, acorn squash and pumpkin are great choices.

Serves - 4
Penne - 1 lb 
Onion, chopped - 1 cup
Garlic - 1 clove
Crushed tomatoes, from can - 1 cup
Butternut Squash, cubed - 1 cup (Can substitute Pumpkin)
Vegetable Stock - 1 cup
Evaporated milk - 1/3 cup (see notes below)
Rosemary sprigs - 2 (optional)
Dried Italian seasoning - 1 tbsp
Crushed red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
Ground pepper - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Olive oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Parsley / cilantro - for garnish
Parmesan cheese - for garnish

Heat a tsp of oil in a cast-iron pan and roast the cubed butternut squash until brown and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat. In another sauce pan, heat the remaining oil and fry the onions and garlic until slightly brown. Add the cooked squash, rosemary sprig, spices and salt. Add the tomato, sugar and stock. Check for seasoning and allow it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook pasta according to packet instructions. When done, drain reserving about 1 cup of pasta cooked water. Remove the sauce from heat and use an immersion blender to puree. Return to heat and add the evaporated milk. Add the pasta water to thin out the sauce as needed. Add the cooked pasta and toss well. Serve hot garnished with parsley and parmesan cheese.
Cream / Half & Half / Whole milk can be used in place of evaporated milk or it can just be skipped.
This sauce can be made in advance and stored in a glass container in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen in ziploc bags.


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