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Frolicking Further into Fall: Pasta with Squash & Kale

Miracle of miracles. We went out to the country for the weekend and, are you ready for this, IT DID NOT RAIN. Holy Amazing. This is a fairly spectacular occurrence as I bring rain with such reliability that it’s been suggested that I could save drought-plagued areas by my presence alone. It was, however, gloriously sunny and warm in Lost River. There was hiking of hikes, playing of games, drinking of drinks, and inspecting of goats. It was good.


There was also much cooking. In addition to Japanese Street Food Night, we also cranked out a nice little Italian-inspired meal Friday evening. A warming, savory-sweet fall pasta followed by simply broiled buffalo steaks and broccolini was just the thing after a long drive and a longer week. Though half of the group FOOLISHLY stopped at Denny’s on the way to the cabin, everyone else was plenty hungry when this tasty pasta, tossed with roasted squash, sauteed kale, pine nuts, and raisins hit the table. That it then got eaten again for breakfast on Sunday says more about how tasty it was… and less about how I didn’t have time to make the coffee cake I usually would have.

Pasta with Squash & Kale
Serves 4-5 generously

1 medium butternut squash
1 tbs oil
1/2 c flame raisins
1 lb pasta
1/3 c pine nuts
1 tbs oil & 1 tbs butter
1 large bunch kale
2 medium shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs minced fresh sage
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c white wine (potable, people)
1/2 c roughly shredded parmesan
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Peel and seed the squash. Cut it into 1/2″ pieces. On a lipped baking sheet, toss with 1 generous tbs oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven till tender, about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the squash is roasting, put a pot of water on to boil the pasta and prep remaining ingredients. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside. Rinse kale and remove tough ribs. Roughly chop the greens and either discard the stems or reserve for stock. Mince the shallot and garlic. In another large heavy pot, toast the pinenuts over medium heat till fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from pot and set aside. Add 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs oil to the pot and saute shallots over medium heat till translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage, and cinnamon and continue to saute 1 minute more. Add the kale and wine and cover. Cook, uncovering to toss occasionally, till the kale is wilted, about 4 minutes.

Once the pasta water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Drain raisins, reserving their soaking liquid, and add to squash mixture along with the pine nuts. Liberally season with salt and pepper. Once pasta is cooked, drain–reserving a little of the cooking liquid–and gently toss with the squash mixture. Add the parmesan and loosen with first the raisin liquid and then the reserved pasta water if needed. Adjust seasonings to taste.

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