Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Pasta with Butternut Squash, Spinach, and Prosciutto | January 11, 2010

Before flying home from DC last week, I hit up the local Borders for some foodie reading material.  I was heading for my usual picks (Bon Appetit and Food and Wine) when I saw an America’s Test Kitchen publication that promised nearly a hundred tasty meals (all printed on glossy detachable recipe cards) that could be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  I grabbed it and spent the entire flight clipping the cards and trying to decide which dish to prepare first.

I settled on this pasta dish, since it looked fresh and light (which was exactly what I needed after our gluttonous honeymoon) – I adapted it slightly, and it turned out beautifully.  The sweetness of the squash is tempered by the saltiness of the prosciutto, and vice versa.  There’s no real “sauce” to speak of, but the wine/stock and butter coat the pasta and give it some moisture and flavor (you can also reserve some pasta cooking liquid and add it if you feel that the dish is too dry).  Everyone really enjoyed this quick and healthy weeknight meal, and you can certainly tweak it to suit your taste.

Sorry there’s no photo – this meal was scarfed down way too quickly!  If you’re really curious, it should look something like this.

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    6 slices deli prosciutto, cut into quarter-inch strips
    1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled & cut into half-inch chunks
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
    1/2 cup white wine
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 pound campanelle pasta (I couldn’t find campanelle, so I used farfalle)
    4 cups baby spinach
    kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil & cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in large skillet, over medium heat.  Add the prosciutto & cook for about 10 minutes, or until brown & crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate & set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet & add the squash.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened & beginning to brown.  Add the thyme & cook for an additional minute.  Stir in the wine & simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth & cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 4 minutes.

Drain the pasta & pour it back into the pot.  Add in the spinach, the butternut squash mixture & the reserved prosciutto.  Toss until the spinach wilts.  Season with salt & pepper to taste & serve.

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