Looking for something quick, healthy, and delicious to make for dinner? I tried this dish from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and thought it was great. Creamy and filling without being too heavy. Quick to put together (only takes about 1/2 an hour), and budget-friendly. I don’t think you can ask for much more.
I was a little concerned about the combination of peanut butter and cream cheese, but it really works. And, the spices on the squash were perfect. The original recipe called for sweet potatoes, but I used butternut squash instead; my garden gave me dozens of squash again this year. You can use butternut squash, sweet potato, acorn squash, or even cooking pumpkin (but don’t use the ones for jack-o-lanterns – it’ll be stringy and wet).
Try this dish with chicken or shrimp as well. Also, I think it would be pretty with the addition of some lightly sautéed red peppers.
Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash and Green Onions
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Makes 4 servings
1 medium size butternut squash, (or large sweet potato or acorn squash)*
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
8 oz dry pasta (rigatoni or penne)
1/3 cup peanut butter
3-oz reduced fat cream cheese, cut up
2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
6 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place the cut squash on a microwave safe plate, and microwave on high for about 5 minutes (microwave times will vary), until the squash is tender. Remove from microwave, and allow to cool until easily handled. Scoop the flesh from the peel with a spoon; the squash pieces should be about 1-inch chunks. Place scooped squash in a bowl, and toss with olive oil, sugar, chili powder, and cinnamon. Saute squash in a medium pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until squash starts to brown, and spices become fragrant.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup hot pasta water.
In a small saucepan combine peanut butter, cream cheese, chili sauce, soy sauce, and most of the green onions (reserving some for garnishing); whisk in 3/4 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir over medium heat until sauce starts to melt, and heats through. If sauce is too thick, stir in additional water. Toss pasta with sauce, and top with squash and remaining chopped green onion.
*Cook’s Notes: If you have more time to spend making dinner, the squash or sweet potatoes would be fabulous roasted in the oven. It develops some caramelized bits, and the flavor becomes more complex. To roast, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut squash in wedges, and scoop pulp and seeds out of the middle of the squash. Place cut squash on a baking dish or cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with olive oil, sugar, chili powder, and cinnamon. Bake 20-30 minutes or until tender. Cut cooked squash into 1-inch chunks. (The flesh of the squash will easily come away from the peel of the squash).
This is great made with some homemade chile powder too!