After Thanksgiving Meal

This Thanksgiving marks the first year that I have done the least amount of cooking. Ever. I’m not sure why it worked out this way, because I usually do a lot of cooking whether Thanksgiving takes place at my house or not. All I made was cranberry sauce and pumpkin spice cupcakes. I didn’t even buy a fake turkey roast this year. On the upside, I actually enjoyed spending time with my family and friends. Did you make or eat anything delicious for Thanksgiving? 

To make up for the lack of festive food, I felt the need to cook something seasonal and comforting today. I also made the decision to finally use the package of winter squash that’s been sitting in my freezer for months. Creamy pasta and greens is my favorite comfort food, so I came up with a winter squash, kale, and white bean pasta dish. While it wasn’t a spectacularly good dish, I think it’s worth making again. I especially want to revisit this recipe to try it with sausage.

Note for El Pasoans: I buy frozen winter squash (Cascadian Farm Organic brand) at Sprouts (Sun Harvest). I haven’t seen it at Albertsons or Walmart. I think you might be able to find it at Super Target. Let me know if you find it!

Creamy Winter Squash & Kale Pasta

Makes about 4 servings

I would have used veggie breakfast sausage instead of beans, but I didn’t have any. If you don’t have cashews, you can use your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk, half & half, heavy whipping cream, or goat cheese. Fresh sage or rosemary would also be a nice addition.
 

1 pkg. frozen pureed winter squash, thawed (or 1 cup of cooked & pureed butternut squash)
1 bunch of kale (or your favorite green), rinsed & torn into bite-sized pieces
½ cup raw cashews
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground nutmeg
3 cups dried whole wheat penne, or your favorite pasta
salt & pepper
1 ½ cups reserved pasta water or ‘chicken’ or vegetable stock
1 can of cannellini beans (optional), drained & rinsed
fresh lemon

Cover the cashews with water & soak for 30 minutes or more. Drain & rinse them; puree with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional) & enough water (about ½ cup) to form a thick, liquidy consistency.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat oil or butter in a dutch oven or large pan, add garlic, & cook for a couple of minutes or until slightly golden. Add kale, season with salt, pepper, & nutmeg (I grated for about 5 seconds); cook for a few minutes, or until the kale is bright green and tender. Add squash puree & water or stock. Slowly stir in cashew cream (you may want to use less). Add beans & simmer until heated through. Squeeze about ½ of a lemon & stir. Season with salt & pepper if needed.

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