Monday, November 19, 2007
Fall Weather Flavors: Butternut Squash Pasta
Apple crisp, roasted squash, long-braised pork. All of these dishes taste better with a chill in the air and colored leaves on the ground. In Los Angeles, fall and winter dishes usually required suspension of disbelief--yes, I really need that heavy braised lamb to help me face the 80 degree November day. No, there's nothing weird about baking Christmas cookies when it's 70 and sunny. And of course it makes sense that the Pasadena Gap sells hats and mittens--wouldn't want to get frostbite from the 2 second walk from the car to the house when it's an oh-so-cold 50.
No suspension needed here in New York. To say I've enjoyed my first proper fall in over 5 years is an understatement. From the first day I had to wear a scarf, to the hot apple cider from the farmers' market, to the wet, sloppy snowflakes that fell this morning, I've loved every minute.
When I've made it into my "kitchen" (i.e. the back wall of my "living room"), I've greedily exploited fall's signature foods. My favorite dish was one I threw together hastily last week--cubed and oven-roasted butternut squash, sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper, tossed with caramelized shallots and ribbons of speck. Ladled over fresh penne, showered with fresh parmesan. Make sure you let your squash roast long enough to develop crispy corners so you have little cubes of sweet crunchy goodness. Can't wait for December!