Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

I walked out into the morning to find my car under a mountain of snow. The whole street was under a mountain of snow. It must have been at least a foot last night. But I am a lousy Midwesterner, so I have no way of telling how much it really was. All I know is that I spent at least half an hour scraping, shoveling, and commiserating with the neighbors before I gave up. I called it a snow day and worked from home.

Later that evening, I faced a butternut squash. They are wonderfully delicious creatures, but you have to fight them tooth and nail to get what you want. As I was throwing my weight into my knife to chop the squash into roastable chunks, I began thinking what a wintery thing squash really is. It is not a delicate summer vegetable that needs perfect soil and the nurturing sun to flourish. It thrives when the earth gets hard and lonely, and makes a protective shell around its flesh. When faced with it, cutting into a squash can be daunting, but it’s not as bad as it looks. Once you find a rhythm, it’s actually enjoyable to make the deep cuts into it. To surmount it.

And this is one reason that I love cooking. It is surmountable. Even the dirty dishes are surmountable (though I still haven’t done mine yet tonight). You can face a squash and figure out how to tackle it and, in the end, you can eat it and it will be delicious and you’ll have vitamins in you and a full belly. Maybe winter is surmountable too, but I really haven’t figured that out yet.

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (approximately)
4 cloves of garlic, skin on
4 sage leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 head of swiss chard, cut into large chunks, stems removed
1/2 c. ricotta
1 lb. pasta (reserve 1/4 c. cooking water)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the peeled and chopped squash on a cookie sheet with the garlic cloves still in their skin. Drizzle olive oil to coat, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sage leaves. Cook for about half an hour or until tender. Place the squash in a large bowl. Remove the garlic from its skin and mash in the bowl.

In the meantime, heat about 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the chard with salt and pepper until tender. Place in the bowl with the squash and garlic.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the bowl with the squash and chard. Mix together.

Add 1/2 c. ricotta to the bowl and slowly add the cooking water until desired consistency. You may not use all of it. Add salt if needed and serve with parmesan cheese.


About Kate Soto

3 responses to “Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard”

  1. Siggy says :

    Oh man, you just made me hungry at 11:30PM. That’s a gorgeous picture!

  2. Mary Soto says :

    So yummy looking.

  3. Erica says :

    This looks delicious! I might try this one.

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