We develop a lot of recipes. It’s actually kind of our job. And most of the time we’re quite good at it, though not always. The sous vide beef kidney that smelled like hobo piss — don’t ask me why I know what that smells like — comes quickly and frighteningly to mind.
Most of our misses, though, are usually just a tweak or two away, and this recipe for spiralized butternut squash is a good example. Our first run at the recipe, partially informed by the occasionally reliable internet, had us roasting the spiralized squash noodles for 10 minutes before finishing in the sauce. Though the noodles were al dente out of the oven, they were obliterated when tossed into the sauce. It was flavorful, but not texturally satisfying, and nothing like pasta.
Fortunately, the fix was quick: don’t pre-cook the squash. Toss the noodles directly into the sauce and simmer until just al dente.
Note: Butternut squash is hard. Very, very hard. Like so hard that it’s almost impossible to spiralize. Almost. But with a bit of brute force, anything is possible.
Butternut Squash Noodles with Sausage and Swiss Chard
1 large butternut squash (2.5 pounds), peeled, seeded, and spiralized
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 large shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound Swiss chard, ribs removed and cut into thin strips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage over medium heat, breaking it up into medium-size bits as it cooks, until well-browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl.
Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the shallot and sauté until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom, then cook until the wine evaporates. Add stock, squash, and chard and cook until chard is wilted and cooking liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add the squash noodles, toss, cover, and cook for five minutes, until just al dente.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Divide between warmed pasta bowls and sprinkle with pine nuts.