Friday, February 10, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash & Quinoa Pasta

This dish is probably the best thing I've come across in a LONG time.  Not only is this a keeper, but I think it'll be something I make several more times through the end of the winter.

I made this dish twice.  It's based on a recipe found here.  I adapted it to make a pasta sauce, baked pasta dish as well as a soup.  It's more than fair to say that this is a versatile recipe.



  • 1/4 cup onion

  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 2 cups pureed acorn squash (from 1 roasted corn squash)

  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (divided in half)

  • Parmesan for topping

  • 2 boxes elbow pasta (8oz boxes)


    1. To roast acorn squash, cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down in a pan filled with about a 1/2″ of water. Roast at 400˚ until squash is tender (mine took about 30 minutes.) Remove and let cool. Scoop out the insides and set aside (this can be done the day before as well.)
    2. Cook pasta according to package (or about 2-3 minutes less to make it al dente).
    3. In a bowl, stir together the acorn squash, ricotta cheese and Parmesan.
    4. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Finely dice onions and add to pan along with chopped garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and cooked through.
    5. Add onions/garlic and squash mixture and puree in a food processor till smooth.
    6. Once everything is ready, spoon squash mixture onto pasta.
    7. **If you're making the baked version** Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Combine cooked pasta and squash mixture. Put it in the casserole dish and top with either breadcrumbs or parmesan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, just enough to get the top a little crispy.

    Okay.  So I've made this dish twice now.  It was delicious both times.  Actually, the first time I made the acorn squash mix, I was spooning it out from the food processor right into my mouth.  I could have made a meal just out of that alone.  It was that good.

    That said, I decided to see what else I could make from the original recipe. 

    Let me rewind for a moment.  Since I didn't have pasta shells, I decided to use the quinoa pasta I had which was elbows.  I made the acorn squash mix as a sauce.

    Then the wheels started turning and I thought that it would make a good baked dish, similar to a macaroni and cheese - in the loosest sense of the phrase. 

    But then I also thought it would make a great soup if it was thinned out to the right consistency.

    Oh - the acorn squash.  It's easier to cut through and set up than butternut squash, but once cooked, it's still a little challenging to scoop out the cooked parts.  There's probably an easier way to do it, but I find my hands get mighty dirty in the process.  Then again, maybe it's good to get the hands dirty now and again ;)


    Add 1 cup vegetable broth and 1 cup half and half (I used fat free, but the real thing would make it even creamier :) to a large saucepan with the acorn squash mix and simmer for about 30 minutes.


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