Sunday, January 30, 2011

Farfalle with Butternut Squash and Arugula Walnut Pesto

Diamond Shelled Walnuts

Featured Ingredient: Shelled Walnuts

This product fits into my "other can-tainers" category.  While not a traditional can, this product has a pull top made out of sheet metal so it qualifies.

If you like efficient recipes where you can multi-task and work on several elements at one time, this is the recipe for you.  You can roast the squash, while your pasta water boils and you prepare the pesto part.

The most challenging part is preparing the squash.  Personally, I like dishes with more rustic knife cuts, but I tried to make some effort to make semi uniform dices for the final picture.  When I was in culinary school, they gave us the tool below as a guideline to help us hone our knife skills.  Do the ends justified the means?  Do we really need to waste so much of each vegetable to have geometrically shaped food on our plates?

Farfalle with Butternut Squash and Arugula Walnut Pesto

1. Roast Butternut Squash.  You will  need:

4 cups large diced butternut squash (these don't have to be perfect)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F
Mix ingredients in a large bowl.  Spread out on one layer on a large baking sheet.  Roast 30-35 minutes until fork tender, not mushy rotating squash about 1/2 way through cooking time.

While butternut squash roasts... Set water in a large pot to boil.  Add 1 tbsp of salt to water

2. Prepare Pesto.  You will need:

1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups baby arugula
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese divided

In a food processor, pulse walnuts, arugula, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper until combined but some texture remains. Slowly pulse in olive oil.  Stir in 1/4 cup of cheese.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Boil 1lb Farfalle Pasta until al dente. Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Return pasta to pot add pesto, pasta water and mix to combine. Fold in roasted butternut squash. Top with additional parmesan cheese and chopped walnut pieces.

Farfalle with Butternut Squash and Arugula Walnut Pesto