Homemade Pasta with a Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
Chicago, I’ve gotta tell you: you’re not looking good these days. Whatever this is, this post-winter, pre-spring thing, is not working for you. It’s brown on top of brown on top of brown. The snow has melted away and all that’s left is dead grass, dead bushes, dead leaves. The geese are back, but they’re brown. The el platforms, the particular color of Chicago brick, the dirty freeway cement, even the pond on campus–brown.
So, I’m waiting eagerly for spring. And I even miss winter a little. And I’m sick. I know, I know, I’m a big gripefest over here.
What’s better to soothe the inner griper than carbs? I had a carbfest on Saturday and made fresh pasta, an onion-apple tart, and homemade bread. All with the help of the lovely Maggie. She studies medieval Italian lit, so I knew, even though a novice, she’d have pasta-making in her bones.
My first attempt at fresh pasta a few weeks ago was a complete failure, but this time we pulled it off beautifully. We made reams and reams of the stuff and topped it off with a butternut squash cream sauce.
Took more time than just boiling a package of pastasciutta, but man was it worth it.
from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
2 c. flour
2 egg yolks
definitely: a pasta machine
Add the flour to a large bowl and create a well in the middle. Add the eggs and yolks to the well. With a fork, scramble the eggs with the flour until you have an even consistency. We also added maybe 1/2 a c. of water to the mix because it started out much too dry. Use your discretion. What you want to achieve is a dough that holds itself together but is not too sticky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour.
Divide the dough in half and feed it through the lowest setting on your pasta maker. Once you feed it through, you will have a long, flat rectangle. Fold it in thirds and feed it through again on the low setting.
Set the maker to the next lowest setting and repeat these steps until you have reached the desired consistency (pretty thin, but not so much so that it falls apart). Switch attachments to the tagliatelle setting and send the dough through to cut it into pasta. Lay flat and let rest.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 3 to 6 minutes, until it floats to the top and is cooked through.
Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into chunks
salt and pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 c. cashews, finely chopped (unsalted)
3–4 sprigs of thyme
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Arrange the butternut squash on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil until covered. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and toss to coat. Bake until tender, about 35 minutes.
Heat a large pan over medium and add oil. Saute onions and garlic until translucent, about 4 minutes, then add the cashews and saute a few minutes more, being careful that they don’t burn. Add the roasted squash, the thyme, and the cream and bring it to a boil, then lower to simmer. Stir in the cheese and simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.