Tag Archives: prosciutto

Pasta with Spinach and Butternut Squash

031913184257

I’m having a bit of a seasonal identity crisis right now.  The calendar says that it’s the first day of Spring, but there have been snow flurries blowing all day today, and I’m still cooking wintery dishes!  We’ve had a couple of random warm, sunny days this month, but it just feels like Mother Nature is having a laugh at our expense.  So is it Winter?  Or Spring?  Do we go by the official calendar designation, or the weather?

I’m hopeful that soon Ohio will settle on a season – as much as it ever does, that is! But until the weather outside starts to feel like spring, I decided to go for a new, bright background.  I thought the green lettuce was pretty, and with the name of the blog, it made sense.  Let me know what you think of the new look!

Early March in Ohio - garlic shoots poking up through the snow!

Early March in Ohio – garlic shoots poking up through the snow!

So since the weather still doesn’t feel very Springy, I’m in the mood for comfort food.  And after my Fall CSA, one of my go-to comfort foods is squash.  Who knew?  Before I started my CSA, I would never have guessed how much I loved squash.  Now it’s a bit of an obsession.  Bear with me, folks – I know that I’ve posted a lot of butternut squash recipes on this blog in the past year, but of all of them, this may just be my favorite.

Or it’s possible that my favorite recipe is always the one I just made (or just ate).

Crispy prosciutto - so pretty!

Crispy prosciutto – so pretty!

The addition of the spinach and salty prosciutto (leftover from pizza making) to this pasta dish really brightened the flavor of the butternut squash.  After I ate this, I was warm and happy, but not weighed down like pasta can do sometimes.  It was a light butternut squash pasta, which was a really nice surprise!

As I was writing this out, I realized that it looks like a complicated recipe.  I promise you that it isn’t!  It did take some time to cook the squash, but if you had frozen cooked squash from earlier in the year, you could easily use that and make this much faster.  It took me about 1 hour, 15 minutes from start to eat.

Pasta with Spinach and Butternut Squash

  • 2 lbs butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus a splash for the spinach
  • about 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional – I had it on hand, so I added a splash or two.)
  • 2 double handfuls of baby spinach (Sorry I don’t have a more precise measurement!  Use as much or as little as you want.)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried Sage (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 lb Penne pasta (or whatever shape you have on hand)
  • 2-3 slices prosciutto (optional – for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cube the butternut squash and toss with a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and sage.  Transfer the coated cubes to a baking sheet and bake until caramelized and soft, about 45 minutes.  Toss the squash several times while it’s cooking.

031913174136

If you’re using the prosciutto, lay the slices out on a Silpat on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until crispy.  Remove from oven, crumble or rough chop and set aside for a garnish.

While the squash cooks, start the water for the pasta.  Next, heat a flat sided sauté pan (I think that’s what it’s called) over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil, the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is slightly translucent.  Add a splash of chicken stock and the spinach, and cover until the spinach wilts.

031913181840

By now, the squash should be done.  Reserve about a cup of roasted squash pieces to add to the sauce at the end (for texture, and because they’re pretty).  Put the rest of the squash cubes in a blender with 2 cups of chicken stock and the heavy cream, if you’re using it.  (If you like a thicker sauce, start with less stock and do what feels right.) Blend the squash until smooth.

I wanted to roast the squash to get that rich taste - so yummy!

I wanted to roast the squash to get that rich taste – so yummy!

Add the blended squash to the pan of cooked spinach and stir together.  Admire the swirls of green throughout the bright orange squash sauce.  Take a picture, if you like.

031913182530

At this point, your water should be boiling.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  While the pasta cooks, add the Parmesan cheese to the spinach and squash sauce.  Stir.  Keep the sauce warm over low heat until the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.  Stir.  Remove from heat.

031913184037

Top the pasta with crumbled prosciutto and a little bit of cheese, if desired.  This made easily six servings, but it works great for leftovers (I made this last night, and ate it for lunch again today).  As you know, anything that I will willingly eat leftovers from is a good dish!

Yum!

Yum!

This post is linked to What’s in the Box? at In Her Chucks. 

What do you think of the new look?  What’s your go-to comfort food for cold weather? 

Advertisements

Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza

image

It’s been a crazy, busy, fantastic week at work, so I am way behind on posting this pizza. 

I love asparagus. It’s pretty, it’s tasty, and it’s good for you.

I love pizza. Okay, I’ll be honest – I like pizza in general, but I love my homemade pizza!

So on Saturday night when I was trying to figure out what fun stuff I could put on a pizza, I thought about asparagus. I got hungry. Then I thought about bacon-wrapped asparagus. I don’t love bacon on pizza (it can be a little greasy), so I had an a-ha moment – prosciutto! I’ve had success with that on previous pizzas, so what the heck, right?  With that thought, I got hungrier. 🙂

And so was born my pizza homage to bacon-wrapped asparagus!

image

I started with my standard pizza crust. First I added some garlic scape pesto (sadly, I think it was the last of my pesto from the freezer), then the asparagus. (I cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and popped them into the microwave for two minutes before putting them on the pizza.) I topped that with parmesean and mozzerella cheese, a little fresh ground black pepper and prosciutto.

It baked up beautifully! The asparagus was cooked perfectly and the cheese and prosciutto complemented it so well…yum!

image

I’m having so much fun with pizzas since I learned how to make awesome pizza dough. What pizza will I create next? I can’t wait to find out!

This post is linked to What’s in the Box?  at In Her Chucks.

Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza

Pizza and beer!

Pizza and beer!

First, I have to thank Kirsten at FarmFreshFeasts for this pizza inspiration.  Not only does she have some killer pizzas on her blog (like this one, and this one), she recently posted this recipe for Chicken Saltimbocca Stuffed With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese.  The flavor combination of butternut squash, goat cheese and prosciutto just sounded fabulous!

So logically, I made it into a pizza!  Thanks, Kirsten!

Actually making the pizza was so easy I almost couldn’t believe it, although it did take some pre-planning.  I used a pizza dough recipe from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish (I love, love, love this book!!).  It was an overnight recipe, so I actually started the pizza dough last night around 6 and let it proof all night.

I got up early this morning (5:50, if you must know) to divide the dough and shape it into balls.  The balls went on a cookie sheet and into the fridge to proof all day while I was at work.

I got better at shaping the dough as I went.  The first one was a little wonky.

I got better at shaping the dough as I went. The first one was a little wonky (bottom right). 

This was the first time I ever made pizza dough from scratch, so I was super excited.  When I got home from work, I immediately put the pizza stone in the oven and set the temp to as high as my oven would go (or 500 degrees).  The oven and the pizza stone preheated for about 40 minutes.  When I got the dough out of the fridge to shape it, I turned the oven to broil – in his book, Ken calls that “super heating” the pizza stone.  🙂

I assembled my pizza topping ingredients:  butternut squash that I had cooked earlier in the season and frozen (I moved it from freezer to fridge last night), goat cheese crumbles, shredded mozzarella (I love cheese), prosciutto and sage leaves.  Also black pepper, but it didn’t make it into the picture.

020613173958

One thing I learned right away.  It is apparently impossible for me to make homemade pizza dough without covering the kitchen in flour.  Whoops.

As per the instructions in the cookbook, I punched down the center of the dough, flipped it over and punched it down again.

020613174007

Then the cool part – I picked up the dough by the edge, and constantly turning it, just let gravity stretch it out to the right size and shape.  (I don’t have pictures of that because it took both hands and all my attention.)  I was so proud – no ripping or tearing, and it was actually vaguely round shaped!  Life is good.

I put the dough on a floured peel and proceeded to apply toppings.

020613174741

From the bottom up:  Butternut squash (not too thick), goat cheese crumbles, mozzarella, prosciutto, sage leaves, black pepper.  The sage leaves were little, so I just tore them in half and scattered them over everything else.

I turned the oven from broil back to bake (500 degrees) and it was go time.

Getting the pizza from the pizza peel to the pizza stone was the trickiest part.  I feel like there’s some kind of wrist flick that I have yet to master, but I did okay.  This was awesome though – the pizza stone was so hot that you could hear the sizzle as soon as the pizza dough touched it.  So cool!

I baked it for 8 minutes, then turned on the broiler for about 2 minutes to get the top all browned and yummy.

020613180028

It was fabulous.  The crust was tangy, crunchy on the bottom but chewy around the edge – everything I hoped it would be.  And the combo of the squash, goat cheese, prosciutto and sage – again, thanks Kirsten!  I ate two big pieces, and it took some serious willpower to stop there.

Be on the lookout for some more non-traditional pizzas in the next few days – I do still have pizza dough in the fridge!

Are you a pizza fan?  What are your favorite non-traditional pizza toppings? 

Ready for my close-up!

Ready for my close-up!