Everybody jump in the wayback machine for a post from February 2011!!!
This meal is a great carb-loader. Go run a marathon! Or around the block. Or around the room...
Welcome to the new incarnation of Kitchenella! I thank you all for waiting. I know, I’ve taken a looong break, but I’m back with more delicious stuff. The difference is, this delicious stuff won’t turn you into an enormous fattie like the other delicious stuff.
Rest assured, there will be cheat days – after all, science has proven that one day a week of diet abandonment actually does you good. Just not EVERY day. Right, self? Um, yeah…
Okay. This post is about several things:
Acorn squash – because I had never had it before, and I always like to do different things with squash. So I made a pasta sauce out of it.
My new pasta machine – this one. My grandmother sent it to me for Christmas, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I’ll post the recipe for the spinach pasta below, and I’ll share my adventures in pasta-making.
My new KitchenAid mixer – this one. W00T! Yeah, you can go ahead and be jealous. The mister gave it to me for Christmas, and I’ve been looking for reasons to use it just about every day since. Please notice that it is the PRO model, not the piddlin’ little Artisan. Heh heh. Don’t worry – you can still make the pasta without it.
So, on to the food. Like I said, squash. Good for you, pretty to look at, sweet and nutty, but once you’ve made soup with it, what do you do? I know, I wondered the same thing. For some reason, I have a hard time eating just plain old chunks of squash like a side dish.
I ended up taking a chance – I had an idea that a squash puree might be a good ravioli stuffing, so I tried. As it turned out, I severely overestimated my skills at making non-punctured ravioli, so that is a skill to polish for another day. But I still needed to make dinner, and I had all this pasta sitting around (see below), so I turned it into a sauce.
Genius! Awesome. Even the veggie-averse Gorilla raved about it. Different at first, perhaps, but definitely a keeper (just like, incidentally, the Gorilla himself).
And get a load of the nutritional info! Chock full, it is. Oh, by the way, I’ll be putting that stuff on every post, so no fooling yourself about your diet any longer. ‘Kay?
Acorn Squash Pasta Sauce:
1 acorn squash
salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, cumin to taste
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup peas, frozen
1 teaspoon lite maple syrup
2 carrots, shredded
2 ounces, mozzarella cheese, crumbled
Do this ahead of time – place the squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 for about an hour, or until the skin is dark and bubbly. Remove it from the oven and let it sit until it is completely cool.
Okay. When you start getting hungry, separate the squash from the skin – it should come right off. Throw away the seeds and stringy pulp, because it’s a weird texture and you don’t need it. You can roast the seeds, though – they make a nice snack.
Put the usable portion of the squash in a bowl and mash it until it’s smoothish. Add the spices except for the coriander – taste as you go, and add what makes you happy. I used only a dash of everything, but if you like stronger taste, go for it. Refrigerate the bowl until you are ready to use it.
Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of canola oil until tender and translucent, and add the garlic and peas. Keep everything moving around the pan until the peas are cooked through, about five minutes or so.
Add the squash, along with any liquid that may have separated and accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Mix everything around, and add the syrup and coriander.
If your squash didn’t release very much liquid, you can thin the sauce with chicken or vegetable broth, but not too thin. If it’s too thin for your taste, simmer on high for a couple of minutes until it reduces. Otherwise, just simmer on medium or low for a few seconds.
Serve over pasta, sprinkle with shredded carrots and crumbled mozz, and chow down!
Carbs: 21.9 g
Fiber: 4.4 g
Protein: 6.7 g
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Sat. Fat: 1.5 g
Sodium: 133.3 mg
Cholesterol: 8.2 mg
Vit A: 97.2%
Vit C: 36.1%
(based on 2000 calories)
This was only the beginning...
Okay, now on to the pasta debacle. It turned out well, but I was completely unprepared for the length of the process. Did you know that pasta machines are not magic?
Anyway, I tweaked a typical pasta recipe, and was totally unaware of the sheer volume of pasta that was about to happen. It didn’t seem like a large quantity of ingredients, and it didn’t seem to be a lot of dough. But once I began running it through the machine, I discovered I was in over my head.
I had pasta everywhere, and no choice but to continue rolling until the entire batch was done, or all that dough would go to waste. The directions said to dry the pasta on a kitchen towel, but I only own, like, five of them, and two of them were already in use. I ended up using parchment and an old ugly curtain we had bought out of desperation.
This project ended up taking over three entire counters in my kitchen, and it even spilled over onto the dining room table. Yes, two rooms. I implore you not to attempt this on a busy day. It was actually very fun, but gosh. It took a long time.
10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 cups flour
Honestly, you can use fresh spinach if you’re a purist, but the frozen saves you the trouble of cooking and chopping it yourself. Anyway…
In a blender, puree the spinach and the eggs.
Mound the flour into a large bowl (or the bowl of your KitchenAid stand mixer… hee hee!), make a well in the center, and pour in the puree.
Mix until smooth. If you have a KitchenAid, you can actually walk away for a bit at this point… hah!
The dough should be moist but not sticky. When it’s finally reached the point where it is cool, smooth and solid-feeling, pick the ball up between your hands and mash it around a little.
Now, either run it through your pasta machine or knead it by hand until you can roll it extremely thin without it breaking. It may take some trial and error.
I sent most of mine through the kneading process only once, and it came out great. But then I had to send a ball through a second time, and it definitely did come out more homogenized and together-like, so use your judgement.
Once the dough is kneaded, just send it through the portion of your pasta maker that cuts the shape you want, or roll it out and cut it by hand. I got a little creative, and tried some giant bowties in addition to my fettucine. Meh. Kinda sloppy. You can’t properly pinch pasta with long nails.
Once the pasta is whatever shape you want it, lay it on towels or parchment or something to let it air dry. I left mine out overnight, and it came out beautifully. If you made long, skinny pasta, you can dry it in little piles – it will separate when you cook it. If you make ravioli, though, you should freeze them right away so the filling doesn’t go bad.
Servings: 8 (generous)
Carbs: 60.4 g
Fiber: 4.7 g
Protein: 13.8 g
Total Fat: 4.5 g
Sat. Fat: 1.6 g
Sodium: 117.5 mg
Cholesterol: 119.4 mg
Vit A: 94.6%
Vit C: 23.7%
(based on 2000 calories)
Sooo… okay! That’s it! It’s been awhile since my last post, but I sure made up for it, didn’t I? :)