November 30, 2010 by Dana
I love that there are more sticks of butter in the food than people at the table.
I love that I can eat far more food than necessary and chalk it up to getting into the holiday spirit. (Hey, I’m just showing how thankful I am for all this delicious food.)
And, most of all, I love that I know exactly what’s going to be on the table a year in advance. Without exception, I know that there will be butternut squash soup, creamed spinach, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, homemade gravy, and of course, turkey.
We may have the occasional impromptu addition to the meal, but under no circumstances will anything be omitted from that list. Ever. It’s like an unwritten law.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from my mom saying that she was doing away with the squash soup and making a Butternut Squash Spaghettini that she saw Mario Batali make on Good Morning America instead.
What?!? But we have to have squash soup! It’s tradition!
My mom went on to explain that since my brother is a vegetarian, she wanted to make something a little more substantial for him to have instead of turkey. And it was silly to make butternut squash soup and butternut squash pasta. Which definitely makes sense. But still.
Luckily, my stepdad is not one for change. His response was sort of like mine. Multiplied by 1000.
Needless to say, we had the soup…. and the Butternut Squash Spaghettini.
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 pound (whole wheat) spaghettini
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Mario’s original recipe calls for anchovies as well. Clearly, this defeats the purpose of making a vegetarian dish, so we omitted them. Feel free to add them back in. Or not. The recipe definitely didn’t feel like anything was lacking without them.
1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
2. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are softened.
3. Turn the heat up to high and add the squash cubes. Toss over high heat for 5 minutes, until the cubes are browned at the edges. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
4. Cook the spaghettini in the boiling water according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente.
5. Return the squash mixture to the heat, drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Add the parsley and remaining olive oil and toss over high heat 1 minute. Top pasta with breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
I have to admit, I’m glad my mom wanted to change things a little this year. This pasta dish was so delicious! Not that it could replace the soup, but it definitely was a great addition. And really, who doesn’t need some extra carbs at Thanksgiving??
*I’m submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast this week.