Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Worknight Dinners

Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale is a hearty, vegetarian dish that comes together quickly – perfect for weeknights – and is packed with healthy ingredients and nutrition.

Brad and I have been together for a little over three years and living together for about two. We rarely fight, our values are very similar and we have a lot of the same aspirations and goals for our futures.

Sounds perfect, right?

This is where I’m going to tell you that my boyfriend is a picky eater.

Although he is very good about trying new things or eating around the offending ingredient, there are certain things that are straight up off-limits: avocado, mushrooms, beans, quinoa, and — you know where I’m going with this —  roasted butternut squash and kale.

In contrast, I will eat just about anything except for the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. There are a lot of things I’m not especially fond of (ham, oranges, popcorn are all foods I could live without) but there are few ingredients that I’ll refuse to eat when they appear in a composed dish full of other things that I like.

Even though Brad refused to touch this dish with a ten-foot pole I made it for a TV segment I was doing on the local CBS affiliate here.

It is the epitome of fall and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the roasted butternut squash gene in their DNA.

The Recipe

Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale
Recipe type: Worknight Dinners, Cooking for a Crowd
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ pound orecchiette
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 bunch kale
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss all but 1 cup of the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and the nutmeg. Roast until butternut squash pieces are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook sliced red onions until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat a pot of water over high heat until boiling. Salt water generously. Cook orecchiette according to package instructions until al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Cook the remaining cup of butternut squash for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Using a ladle or ½ cup measuring cup, add the chicken broth in small batches and cook until broth is almost completely absorbed.
  5. Remove the middle stems from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Add kale to butternut squash and stir until kale has softened. Add caramelized red onions.
  6. Pour in white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and reduce, about 10 minutes.
  7. When the pasta is al dente, add it to the pan with the sauce. Add the roasted butternut squash.
  8. Loosen sauce with pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with sage, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.


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