The Mister and I are omnivores — we eat animal-based proteins for dinner most days of the week. Occasionally, I find a recipe for a vegetarian dish that sounds good. Sometimes I add meat to it; other times, I don't. In this instance, I chose not to add any meat. I knew the fiber from the squash and the fat from the butter and oil would be filling on its own.
I must admit, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this meal. It was a perfect for the end of summer/beginning of fall transition. Earthy fall flavors, but a light dish. It was one of the few times I took a bite and said out loud, "Oh wow!"
It was also a very pretty dish. My picture doesn't do it justice. The earthy colors (orange, green, and brown) matched the earthy flavors and were so vibrant. And yet it was so simple. Just 8 ingredients, most of them pantry staples.
Could you add meat to it? Sure, probably any meat would work well. But I hope you'll try it at least once without. The flavor of this meal was just phenomenal on its own.
Pappardelle with Squash, Mushrooms, and Spinach
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
- 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine pasta
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 cups ½-inch cubes butternut squash (about a pound)
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage (6 to 8 leaves)
- 6 ounces package baby spinach
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (check the package for directions). Reserve one cup of cooking liquid from the pasta pot, then drain the remaining water out.
- While pasta is cooking, place 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Stir as the butter melts, then add the butternut squash to the pan. Cook, stirring often, about 6 minutes, until the squash starts to soften.
- Add the remaining butter and oil to the skillet, then add the mushrooms and the sage. Cook another 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until mushrooms soften and the squash is fork-tender.
- Add the spinach to the skillet, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta to the skillet, adding ¼-cup of cooking water at a time if the pasta seems dry.
- Divide the pasta and veggies among four plates, and top each with a quarter of the remaining grated Parmesan cheese.