Ah Park City in the off season- beautiful blue skies, sunny crisp weather, snow capped mountains… and construction EVERYWHERE. I feel like the city votes that September through November will be the months they rip up every road, pipe and drain in the town, all at once and inconveniently detour you or make you wait in traffic. The only other place you can travel 1/2 a mile in 25 minutes is New York City during rush hour and the roundabout at Deer Valley.The good news, you can go to the farmers market at the Canyons and buy a butternut squash the size of a small baby. Seriously, I bought one butternut squash and I was able to make three separate recipes with it: Soup, Pizza and Pasta! This recipe was adapted from my favorite little Italian chef, Giada. It’s actually quite genus and I wish I could say I came up with the technique. Pasta water and goat cheese combine to make a creamy and delicious sauce with little effort!The roasted squash and onions caramelize in the oven before they are tossed with the creamy penne and fresh basil. The last touch, toasted little pepitas that lend a lovely crunch. The original recipe called for walnuts but I much prefer the delicate flavor of the pumpkin seeds with this pasta. I am always looking for tasty and filling vegetarian recipes to have on hand- vegetarian or not, this recipe is definitely one of my go-to, crowd pleasing pasta dishes! Enjoy!
Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne (Serves 6)
1 (2-pound) butternut peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 sweet onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese- A large log is 11 oz I used the whole thing
1 cup pepitas, toasted (pumpkin seeds)
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Finely grated Parmesan for garnish
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Chop onion and squash, mix together in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste (just enough oil to lightly coat the squash 1-2Tbls.) Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt after the water boils then add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water before draining the pasta. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce.
Add the squash and onion mixture, the pepitas and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
I might have a slight obsession with beets. They are just so delicious! I’ve been making beet chips (with classic hummus – pictured below), beet salads (with arugula, goat cheese and balsamic glaze- below) and now one of my new favorites… Beet hummus dip. I’ve brought my daily beet intake to a new level with this dip. Its super simple, very flavorful and a refreshing change to the usual hummus or spinach dip. Sprinkle a little goat cheese on top for a creamy texture and awesome flavor – its a winner! Serve it up with pita chips, veggie sticks, rice crackers or spread it on your sandwich, the options are endless! (Warning- you will enjoy this beet hummus so much you’ll most likely eat the whole bowl of dip, which will cause you to pee pink- don’t worry its a totally natural sign of a beet lover.)
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salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon of salt and 10 turns of fresh pepper- add more or less to your liking)
1 small log of goat cheese (or large depending on your love of goat cheese!)
To roast beets, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash beets to remove any dirt, remove greens and stems from the beets so all the remains is the blub. To peel the beets prior to roasting use a vegetable peeler (or you can do this afterwards with your hands or paring knife- either way your hands will get pink unless you wear rubber gloves). Place beets on a large piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Make a little foil packet by sealing the top and sides by rolling the foil over itself. Roast for 25-30min or until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork.
Combine beets, Tahini, chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of your food processor (the Tahini gets stuck on the sides and bottom very easily). Add more lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil until the dip reaches a desirable consistency (this is totally personal- add less liquid if you like your hummus thick and chunky or more liquid for it to be a bit thinner).
Scoop dip into a bowl, crumble desired amount of goat cheese on top and serve with favorite chips! Enjoy!
It was another beautiful weekend in the Mountains of Utah. It has been very warm but the wild flowers are bursting in the back country. On Saturday I went on a beautiful hike at Alta through the most amazing meadows of wild flowers- pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the scenery. I also made a trip to the farmers market down in Salt Lake where I got some beautiful peaches, fresh basil and other delicious goodies for the weekend. I used Naan as the dough which was a super easy, no bake option to pizza dough, which makes these peach & goat cheese flatbreads the perfect summer appetizer. The sweetness from the peaches and the saltiness from the goat cheese is the perfect refreshing combo that’s ready in no time! Enjoy!