Squash, Pancetta and Chard Pasta

 

This colorful pasta dish is pretty healthy and very tasty. Not too tricky either. Have enjoyed it many times in the past 5-7 years. I actually thought it was on my blog; not so. Hence this post. I made it this week and it made 4 lovely servings.

It showcases roasted cubes of butternut squash and tender melt in your mouth swiss chard. My amounts are somewhat approximate. It will keep a few days in the fridge. I used gf fettuccine noodles. Don’t overcook them! You could buy pre-peeled and cubed squash to save time. I used some I grew last fall and honestly it didn’t take long to peel and cube it. I suggest you roast the cubes from a whole squash and use as much as you think works for you. Valley Farms has great fresh swiss chard; that’s where I get mine if I don’t grow it myself.  I have made this recipe with thick cut bacon, if that is what you have; go for it.  I got a package of chopped pancetta at Aldi’s pretty cheaply.

 

 

Butternut, Pancetta and Chard Pasta

Ingredients:

1 bunch swiss chard, I like the red stemmed variety, rinsed off

3-4 tbsp. EVOL

1 cup or so of diced red onion; one decent sized one

1 lg garlic clove minced

1 small- medium butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cubed; at least a pound

4 oz pancetta, diced

12 oz dried gf fettucine noodles.

Good quality Parmesan cheese to grate on plated entree

Directions:

Roast the squash; heat the oven to 400 degrees, spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray; spread the cubed squash, drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp of EVOL and ½ tsp. kosher or sea salt, bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes; turn cubes every 15 minutes with a metal spatula to help them cook evenly, a bit of crunch is nice! Start the rest of the recipe as they approach doneness or bake the squash a day before if that works for you. Have done it both ways. Crunchier if made right before serving

 

Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta while you make the chard.  Chop it into 1 inch lengths; set the chopped leaves aside separately from the lower stem bits. Heat the EVOL in a large frying pan or smallish wok. Add the stems and cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, stir, add the onion; cook 3-5 minutes until softening. Add rest of chard in 2-3 handfuls letting it cook down for a minute before stirring and adding the next third. Then push the veggies up the sides or to the edges and add the pancetta. Push the veggies gently back around and over the pancetta. Cook 2-3 minutes until the pancetta is hot and the chard is soft.  Meanwhile you have cooked the pasta to al dente. Add it to the pan with the chard, stir, add the roasted squash cubes. Stir. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top; none of that pre-grated crappy cheese please! Enjoy!

swiss chard pasta plated

 

 

Not sure where I found this recipe but it is a keeper; we often enjoy it in the fall as chard and squash are fall harvest vegetables.

One Last Hot Soup for Winter 2015: Chicken Curry Noodle

Recently I fell ill with a pesky respiratory ailment and as I got sicker my body craved that old folk remedy: chicken noodle soup.  But, I was tired of the same old chicken soup which, lately, seemed light on flavor and not very exciting. I saw this recipe somewhere; frankly I was pretty ill and can’t even remember where I spied it.  Last weekend I just had to give it a try. It’s a humdinger of a spicy, flavorful brothy soup and just the ticket for whatever ails you or maybe you want to add a new flavor to your soup repertoire. It sure is not my usual chicken noodle!

This was one time I got adventurous with the Madras even though I am not a huge curry powder fan.  The spicy combination of hot peppers (I used a medium hot yellow hot one, an even milder green hot pepper and part of a sweet red pepper) and curry powder was great for opening my sinuses. The coconut milk pulls the flavors together to play nicely.  I used only one can of it but the original recipe used two. I could taste all the flavors, even stuffed up.   I loved every spoonful and felt better after imbibing!

I made my soup with some butternut squash which was already cooked and relaxing in my fridge. The original recipe used cooked cubes of red skinned yam, I plan on trying that version soon.  It also had fresh basil leaves shredded on top of each bowl; feel free to add some, There was no fresh basil around so my soup is without it.  I used some skinny rice noodles; the original recipe called for some weird sounding bean noodles.  I might use wider rice noodles in my next version or gf egg noodles.  You might use chicken breast if that is what is in the fridge or freezer. Add more chili garlic sauce if you love it hot; I went with the lesser amount; go as high as 2 tsp. if you dare!  I added the zucchini for more vegetable impact, add or subtract a vegetable of your choice….

That’s the one thing I want to stress in this post; you don’t have to have every single ingredient to make a soup recipe, its okay to make substitutions.  This is not baking, where you need to be more exact.  The only thing I ask is: don’t complain all over the place if you dislike the dish after you made huge changes to the ingredients.  I see that on foodnetwork.com and epicurious.com all the time and it makes me nuts.  No whiners!

So have fun and throw a different and spicy soup that will warm you totally up, it’s really not that spring like today and your body will thank you.

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Just after adding the zucchini slices.

 

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Ready to spoon out into the bowls.

Curry Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups of cubed cooked butternut squash or yams
7-ounce rice noodles, skinny or wide

4 cups gluten free chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics)
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
¾ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced

1 small zucchini sliced into half rounds

1-2 red, yellow and/or green chilies, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into half

Directions

Roast a butternut squash which you have cut in half the long way and seeded.  I place the halves cut face down on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, bake at 375 or 400 degrees until soft; 30-40 minutes, depends on the size and thickness.  Another option is 1-2 yams roasted and cubed.

Add the rice noodles to 1 ½ cups boiling hot water, turn off the heat and let stand ten minutes. Drain.

In a soup pot, combine the chicken stock, coconut milk, curry powder, and chili garlic sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add the sliced chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini at the start of the last 4 minutes. You don’t want them overcooked, still a tad crisp. Add the squash or sweet potatoes and the soaked noodles and heat through. Add the chilies and green onions and squeeze in the lime juice.

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Serve the soup making sure you get some of the pepper chilies slices and green onions in each bowl.

Servings: four to six depending on bowl size.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup To Warm The Tummy

Blast this early winter weather.  It sure stinks unless you like to slog through cold rain or sloppy snow.  Soup is often my remedy for winter chillies.  This is a simple soup made of roasted produce thinned with chicken broth and a touch of milk.  It will warm your tummy and fill you up without too many calories.  The leek adds a slightly different flavor and the apple a touch of sweetness which I find refreshing.  This mellow winter treat is great with a salad for lunch or a sandwich.  No fuss, very little muss.  Just a short list of ingredients and a fairly simple recipe.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Butternut squash Soup

1 butternut squash

1 medium onion

1 leek

2 fat carrots

1 Rome or Gala apple (any baking apple but Granny Smith will do)

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

3-4 cups of chicken broth, preferably homemade

½-3/4 cup of half and half or whole milk, even 1 percent will work!

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Directions:

First, cut the butternut squash down the length and scoop out the seeds. No need to peel. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Cut the onion in half and likewise the apple, the leek and carrots; cut off the leek above the light green portion and core the apple halves.  Put apples cut side up.  Roast them all in a 375 degree oven until the squash is tender when poked with a fork.  About 35 to 45 minutes depending on the size of your squash.  If the other fruits and veggies are browned and done early slide them off to a plate to cool.  Caramelized is fantastic but no burnt leeks in my soup thank you!

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When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a big spoon to scoop out all the meat of it into your blender.  Add the scooped out contents of the apple halves, the garlic you have squeezed out of its skin, the carrots and leek halves.  Pour in 2-3 cups of chicken broth, blend until smooth, and add more broth until you reach a consistency you like.  Mine was kinda thick and porridgey.  If you prefer to use a food processor that will work or put the scooped out veggies into a large sauce pan and blend with your immersion (boat motor) blender.  This will not be as smooth as the blender makes it but it is more fun and less cleaning as no blender container to wash!

After the blending is done pour it into a large sauce pan and add up to ¾ of a cup of half and half or whole milk.  I used a half cup but you may like it creamier.

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Taste and add sea salt to your taste (maybe ½ a tsp) and grind in some black pepper too if you like it in your soup. Heat until not quite boiling and serve with a slice of GF toast or some GF rolls.  Perfect wintery day meal especially if you add a side salad of greens to round out lunch