I want to apologize to Macduff of Lonely Sidecar for being late on the Cafe Volcano cookies. I will be posting them, but not until this weekend. I have 600 more cookies to go this week for my catering gig for Theory, so they have taken all of my cookie energy until the weekend.
I first posted about this butternut squash dish last September and I still love it as much today as I did then. The squash is creamy and rich, tricking the mind into believing that this healthy dish is filled with cream and fat and artery-clogging goodneess. Perfectly cooked prawns are the perfect protein for the dish, with sweet basil adding a deliciously fresh flavoral contrast and the dish is finished with sharp, freshly grated parmesan cheese. Best of all, this dish only takes about 15 minutes to make. Unless, of course, you are me and can't find a good butternut squash to save your life (anyone who lives in Manhattan knows how poor the produce sections are at the supermarkets, but bad butternut squash? Really? Does that exist?) Three attempts and $20 later (produce is also extremely expensive), I finally achieved the perfect color and consistency for the sauce. And it was well worth it.
Butternut Squash Rigatoni with Prawns
Recipe Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup vegetable stock
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.
In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.