Yesterday was one of those really great days. The baby slept in. Kevin stayed home. We walked, played, had coffee, and ate a home-cooked frittata before 9 a.m. We went to lunch. We shopped for furniture for our basement renovation that may never be complete. We swung at the park (well, the baby swung, we pushed.). We kissed Teddy Boo Boo entirely too many times.
It was like the best low-key, yet productive Sunday, but on a Monday, which makes it even better, because we're that much closer to Friday.
I had absolutely no intention of cranking out a blog post for today, for fear I'd turn my relaxing, perfect family day into a stressful workday. Yet, when the baby went to sleep for his afternoon nap, and Kevin quickly checked his email, I found myself in an almost silent house, with nothing to do. Because my first instinct is never to clean the house or do laundry as it should be, I instead decided to throw this quick butternut squash alfredo together — an easier version of this creamy butternut rigatoni — that had been lingering on my to-do list for some time.
I've been trying to add some easy, minimal-ingredient recipes to the Cooking for Keeps archives, since I know that in this fast-paced world, that's what a lot of people are looking for — myself included — and this is just that.
With only five ingredients, this super easy rift on a classic is something anyone can throw together, even on the busiest of nights.
While we all know how terrible a classic alfredo sauce is for you, I've slightly lightened up this version by using pureed butternut squash as the base of the sauce, and half and half instead of heavy cream.
First, the squash is roasted with just a touch of olive oil, then transferred to a skillet and mashed up with a little bit of half and half. Once all of the squash is pureed, a little bit more half and half is added in, and then it's tossed with just-under-aldente linguine and a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
A few ladles full of starchy, salty pasta water loosens the sauce up, it's seasoned with salt and pepper, and then it's ready to be served.
Simple, easy, and perfect for Fall.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 2 cups diced butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces linguine (I used the garlic linguine from Trader Joe's)
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season liberally with salt (it should taste as salty as the sea).
- Place diced squash on a small baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and add the pepper. Use hands to toss. Spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until soft.
- Cook linguine until just under aldente.
- Add squash and 1/2 cup of half and half to a large skillet. Turn the heat on medium and bring to a simmer. Use the back of a fork or potato masher to puree the squash into the liquid. Once all of the squash is combined, add in the remaining half and half and salt.
- Use tongs to transfer hot pasta to sauce and reserve about a cup of starchy cooking liquid. Add cheese. Use tongs to toss the cheese, pasta, and sauce together. Ladle in about 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water to loosen the sauce up. Add more if necessary.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.
- Pasta, Main Dishes
- 2 large servings