Friday, November 8, 2013

Brown Butter Spaghetti with Baby Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash

I make lots of recipes, and oftentimes they are new ones.  Such is the life of a food blogger.  So I have a lot of experience trying out new foods, turning the light on in the oven to make sure things are rising, peeking at pots and pans and wondering what their contents will be like when they're done.  But sometimes while I am still cooking, I just get this feeling that this recipe is going to end up as some of my best work.  This is the feeling I got as I prepared the brown butter spaghetti with baby kale and roasted butternut squash.  Part of the hunch came from the absolutely scrumptious scents wafting out of the various pans I used (such as the browned butter with onions and garlic.... and the butternut squash roasting slowly in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper); I just knew it was going to be good, and I kept announcing it to my mother, who happened to be the only other person home.  By the time it was ready to eat, we were both excited to try something that made our house smell so darn delicious.

I am happy to say that this dinner was just as good as we expected it to be.  The bites with squash in it were definitely my favorite; they are so sweet from being roasted, but they complement perfectly the slightly bitter baby kale that gets wilted in the sauce last thing.  And then there is that brown butter sauce (it was my second time browning butter!  I still get worried that I am about to burn it, but it turned out perfectly).  It adds a nutty flavor to the sauce, and is a great addition to both pecorino and parmesan cheeses.  Basically, Mom and I were very happy with eating this for dinner and for lunch over the next few days.
browning the butter!
onions and garlic... mmmm...

I will confess that I think I must be getting old, because I used to be able to eat anything I wanted without feeling sick, but the night before we ate this, we went out to dinner and I got a pasta primavera in a butter sauce and got such a stomach ache.  Then I had this the next night and the same thing happened... I think it was just too much butter sauce two days in a row!  This is definitely a very rich meal, but totally worth a stomach ache :)


brown butter spaghetti with baby kale and roasted butternut squash
from The Little Epicurean

6 ounces spaghetti
2 cups butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 cloves of garlic, smashed or minced
2 small onions, sliced, about 2 cups
4 packed cups baby kale
1/4 cup pecorino romano
1/4 cup parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
finely sliced chives, for serving


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out butternut squash.  Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is soft and can easily be pierced with a fork or knife.  Set aside.

2)  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package details.  When draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta water.

3) In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, continue to cook over medium low heat until butter has browned and is fragrant (should smell nutty).  Add minced garlic and sliced onions.  Cook until onions are almost translucent.  Add baby kale in 2 additions.  Cook until kale begins to wilt.  Remove from heat.  Add pecorino romano, parmesan cheese, and roasted butternut squash.  Toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add cooked spaghetti and toss to coat pasta.  Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water at a time until pasta is well coated with sauce.

4) Serve immediately with sliced chives and/or more cheese if desired.

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