I’m back after taking some time off to enjoy my birthday weekend. It’s going to start getting busy here in a little while. I’m going to enroll full-time in my holistic nutrition school.
It’s been cold here again and I wanted something warm and comforting. We had Butternut Squash Garlic Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Minimalist Baker’s cookbook. Since it’s not online yet, I can’t go into too many details about the recipe, but I’ll still try to tell you about it.
One of the star ingredients of the dish is butternut squash. Sometimes you’ll see it called winter squash because it does make an appearance starting around fall. I’ve never cooked with it until I became a vegan. I’ve seen it in the grocery store and heard it mentioned on cooking shows a few times, but I never had a desire to cook with it. Now, I love it and so does the little one. The butternut squash and the pumpkin are part of the same family (a pumpkin is a squash), and when you slice into a butternut squash you’ll see a similarity.
If you get a particularly ripe one, you’ll notice a sweet smell. It kind of reminds me of the smell of a fresh watermelon. Here’s what my favorite Flavor Thesaurus has to say:
Butternut squash and pumpkins share a chapter as they have similar flavor affinities and are often used interchangeably. Bear in mind, nonetheless, that butternut squash is naturally sweeter and will require less sugar in sweet recipes. There’s also a difference in texture: the dense flesh of butternut squash is fine-grained and silky, whereas pumpkin can be rather fibrous. The pronounced sweetness of butternut squash works well with salty ingredients; cut through with something spikily sour; or, in combination with the density of its flesh, as a background for potent herbs such as rosemary and safe.
When you cut open a butternut squash, it’ll look just like a pumpkin. There’s the nasty mess of seeds and it’s orange. It’s orange because beta-carotene makes it that lovely, beautiful hue. It’s also loaded with other carotenoids that are powerful antioxidants. Beta-carotene is a phytonutrient and has many benefits and is also an antioxidant. It’s a form of vitamin A and has anti-aging and cancer preventing properties. If you want to read some more, check this site out. It has a LOAD of information for you.
So once you’ve prepared your nutrient-packed butternut squash, you put it and a few other ingredients into a blender.
I then went ahead and cooked my pasta. I will tell you that the recipe says to combine your pasta and sauce. However, since I have a gluten allergy I couldn’t do that. I had to cook two different types of pasta and then spoon the sauce on top. It’s not a big deal to me. You just have to pay attention and make sure the stupid pot doesn’t boil over.
If you pick the Minimalist Baker’s cookbook up (I highly recommend you do), this recipe, and among the others, is VERY quick to make. I think I finished everything in 45 minutes. The only thing that takes the longest is preparing your butternut squash. This dish is easy, it’s quick, it’s tasty, it’s nutritious, and everyone had seconds. The little one asked for some for lunch today and he NEVER eats leftovers. If you end up making this, let me know what you thought of it.