What I'm Cooking


Pasta with Butternut Squash and Feta Cheese
The tang of the feta cheese provides counterpoint to the sweetness of the butternut squash and the caramelized onions. This recipe takes almost no effort, but it does require a little time to do it right. The key is the onions. When you cook them over a very low heat, the sugar in them caramelizes to turn them slightly sweet and chewy, a perfect complement to the butternut squash. Cooking them quickly will give you a very different flavor, so be prepared to be patient.

1 large yellow onion, diced (I use one of those $10 slicer/chopper doohickeys you can get at a kitchen store)
4 T olive oil, separated
1 T butter or margarine
4 cups dried rotini pasta
1 butternut squash (the
pre-peeled kind saves time)
½ lb crumbled feta cheese (reduced fat if you like)

Add 1 T olive oil, 1 T butter, and onion to large frying pan. Turn heat to high until butter melts, then reduce heat to low, spread onions in a thin layer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add a bit more olive oil if it seems dry. Nothing will appear to happen for 15-20 minutes, then the onions will very gradually begin to turn translucent, then golden. Resist the urge to turn up the heat.

Meanwhile, cut butternut squash into 3/4 inch cubes and steam until just tender, about 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook -- you don't want the cubes to fall apart when you mix them into the pasta. Boil water in deep pot for rotini; don't forget to add olive oil. Plan to put in the pasta around the time the onions are just beginning to color. Cook rotini according to taste.

Once onions are golden, add the butternut squash to pan and fold together, trying to leave the chunks of squash whole.

Drain pasta and place in bowl. Add 3 T olive oil and stir. Fold in the onion and butternut squash mixture. Fold in feta cheese. Yum (actually, I'm making this even as I'm writing down the recipe).

This dish freezes wonderfully. I always make a double recipe so we've got dinner in the freezer some night when we're feeling lazy.

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