Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

The Last Good Thing I Ate

Posted November 22, 2010

Orecchiette with Creamy Leeks and Winter Squash
Dana Treat Original
Serves 4-6

I used delicata squash because I love it and I love not having to peel it.  Butternut would be a fine substitute, just be sure to peel it.  Orecchiette is my pasta shape choice here because it holds the sauce perfectly, but I sometimes have trouble finding it.  Another small shape would be fine.  I would not use long strands.

1 pound delicata squash, cut in half, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch chunks
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large leeks, white and pale green part only, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup white wine
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 pound orecchiette pasta, or similar shape
2 ounces soft goat cheese, such as Montrachet
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place the squash on a small rimmed baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Using your hands, mix well.  Place in the oven and roast until lightly browned and caramelized, turning once, about 15 to 17 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom.  Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and turn the heat to medium-low.  Sauté for several minutes, stirring often, until the leeks soften but do not allow them to brown.  Stir in the sage and thyme.  Cook for another couple of minutes, until fragrant.  Pour in the wine and allow to cook, uncovered, until the wine evaporates.  Turn the heat down to low.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, using the package directions as your guide and tasting to make sure.  Place the pasta pot and the sauté pan on burners right next to one another.

Once the orecchiette is done, use a slotted spoon to scoop the noodles directly from the pot into the sauce pan.  Immediately add the goat cheese, the roasted squash, and the red pepper flakes.  Scoop a ladle-ful of pasta cooking water from the pot into the saucepan, and give everything a good stir.  Add the Parmesan cheese and another ladle-ful of water.  Taste for seasoning.  You may need more water, so just keep adding it until the dish is the consistency that you want.  Garmish servings with additional Parmesan and parsley.

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