I’ve been trying to come up with new ways to eat all those tasty and healthy squash that are so abundant in the fall months. Butternut squash is one of my favorites! Check out my previous post for Butternut Squash Pizza .
This recipe is pretty easy and would be good for a weeknight meal. I recommend either buying either already cut up butternut squash or peeling, cleaning, and cutting in advance as that is the most time consuming part of the meal.
Winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash, Hubbard squash, delicata squash, and pumpkin) have thick skin and contains seeds. Although their shapes and colors vary widely, the deep orange pigmentation is one of the hallmarks of beta-carotene rich vegetables. Butternut and pumpkin contain the most beta-carotene out of the squashes. They also contain carotenoids, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Pumpkins also contains lutein and zeaxanthin.
They are all high in vitamin A, except acorn, and are also an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and manganese. The carotenoids help prevent oxidative damage that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Cancer Research reported that women with the highest levels of alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin had a 50 percent reduction in breast cancer risk. It was particularly true for women with high mammographic density.
Don’t shy away from canned squash either. The carotenoid content is not lost during the canning process and actually increases the concentration of carotenoids.
Butternut Squash Pasta with Pecans Recipe
1 lb. penne pasta or other short cut pasta, preferably whole wheat pasta
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces.
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup pecans, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons olive oil plus a drizzle olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Ricotta for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place cubed butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Roast 15-20 minutes
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and add olive oil and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
In a medium skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter. Roast pecans in butter until toasted.
To serve divide pasta among 4 plates. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Spoon squash over pasta. Top with roasted pecans and a dollop of ricotta cheese.