Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recipe for Vegetarian Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Scallions, and Goat Cheese

Vegetarian Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Scallions, and Goat Cheese
This delicious Vegetarian Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Scallions, and Goat Cheese has just enough goat cheese to add an interesting flavor boost.

I've already confessed to being a butternut squash addict, and I'm always craving it at this time of year.  And even though I wrote a post about How to Peel and Cut Up a Butternut Squash, sometimes I can't resist those package of pre-cut butternut squash that show up at Costco every fall.  This delicious Vegetarian Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Scallions, and Goat Cheese is a recipe I came up with that used half a two-pound package of pre-cut squash with some brown Crimini Mushrooms, a generous amount of chopped scallions, and just enough goat cheese  to keep it interesting.  You can use Feta if you're not a fan of the more pungent goat cheese, and some people might like to add some freshly grated Parmesan at the table.  This recipe does have a few steps, but it's quick enough for an easy week-night dinner, and perfect for Meatless Monday.

(If you're a Meatless Monday fan, you can find more meatless recipes by clicking the label Meatless Monday anywhere you see it on the blog, and you also might like to see my Meatless Monday Pinterest Board, where there are meatless recipes by food bloggers from all over the web.  I also write a weekly Meatless Monday post for BlogHer.com, where I spotlight meatless dishes from Kalyn's Kitchen and other blogs.)

Wash mushrooms and cut into thick slices.  I pulled out the larger stems and cut them in half.  (If you're cutting up a whole squash rather than starting with precut cubes, I would do that first, before you start to cook the mushrooms.)

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat, add the mushrooms, and saute until they're nicely browned, about 6-8 minutes.

While the mushrooms cook, measure out 2 cups of penne (or other similar pasta shape) and start the pasta water boiling, with a generous amount of salt in the water.)  I used Dreamfields Penne, which is a great low-carb pasta choice.

Cut the butternut squash into smallish cubes, about 3/4 inches across.  (I cut most of the pre-cut squash pieces in half, but cut the larger ones into fourths.)

As soon as the mushrooms are done, remove them to a bowl, add another tablespoon of olive oil, and saute the squash over medium to medium-high heat until the squash is softened and nicely browned.  Season squash with about 1/2 tsp. Vege-Sal (or salt) and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper while it cooks.  Add the pasta to the boiling water when you start cooking the squash.

While the squash cooks, slice the green onions and measure about 2 ounces of goat cheese.

When the butternut squash is nicely browned and cooked through, turn heat to low and put mushrooms back into the pan to warm.

When pasta is done (10 minutes), scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain pasta into a colander placed in the sink.

Put drained pasta back into the pot you cooked it in and stir in the goat cheese and let it melt.  (I added about half the pasta water at this point.)

Then gently stir the cheese-coated pasta into the browned butternut squash and mushrooms in the frying pan.  (Add the rest of the pasta water if you need it.  I thought mine was "saucy" enough.)

Gently stir in the scallions and serve hot, with Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.


Vegetarian Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Scallions, and Goat Cheese
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)

Ingredients:
8 oz. brown Crimini Mushrooms (also called Baby Bellas or Baby Portobellas)
1 T + 1 T olive oil
1 lb butternut squash, cut into pieces about 3/4 inches square (they don't all need to be the same size and shape)
1/2 tsp. Vege-Sal or salt plus freshly ground black pepper to taste, to season the squash as it cooks
2 cups Penne or other similar pasta shape (I used Dreamfields Penne, which is a low-carb pasta)
1/2 cup diagonal sliced scallions (green onions), green part only
generous amount salt for pasta cooking water, at least 1 tsp. (The pasta doesn't absorb all that salt, but it will taste flat without it.)
2 oz. goat cheese, or slightly more (You can use Feta if you're not a fan of the more pungent goat cheese.)
freshly-grated Parmesan for serving, optional

Instructions:
(If you're cutting up a whole squash rather than starting with pre-cut cubes, I would do that first, before you start to cook the mushrooms.  Here is How to Peel and Cut Up a Butternut Squash for anyone who hasn't done it.)

Wash the mushrooms and cut into thick slices.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms, and saute until they're nicely browned, about 6-8 minutes.  While mushrooms cook start the pasta water boiling. adding a generous amount of salt, and measure out 2 cups of pasta.  Cut the butternut squash into cubes about 3/4 inches square or slightly larger. 

When the mushrooms are nicely browned, remove them to a bowl.  Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and when it's hot add the butternut squash and cook, turning every few minutes, until the squash is nicely browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Season squash with the Vege-Sal (or salt) and freshly ground black pepper as it cooks.  (Depending on how hot your stove is, you may need to turn the heat to medium.)  Add the pasta to the boiling water when you start cooking the squash. Cook pasta 10 minutes from the time it comes to a boil.

While the squash cooks, diagonally slice the scallions and measure out 2 oz. goat cheese.  When the squash is browned and cooked through, add the mushrooms back into the frying pan, along with any accumulate liquid.  Turn heat to low to keep it warm without cooking more.

When the pasta is cooked to al-dente (still slightly chewy), scoop out 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and then drain pasta into a colander placed in the sink.  Put drained pasta back into the pot you cooked it in, stir in the goat cheese, and let it melt for about a minute.  Add some of the pasta water, as much as you need to feel like the cheese had made kind of a sauce.  When cheese is melted, gently stir the cheese-coated pasta into the squash and mushrooms. (You can add the rest of the pasta water at this point if you think you need it; I thought it was "saucy" enough without any more water.)  Gently stir in sliced scallions and serve hot, with Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Obviously this dish is limited to Phase 2 or 3 for the  South Beach Diet, and it's important to use low-carb or whole wheat pasta for South Beach.  If you're actively trying to lose weight on Phase 2, I would eat a very small serving of this as part of a meal with other low-glycemic vegetables or proteins.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Delicious Vegetarian Ideas with Butternut Squash:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Ten Easy and Amazing Vegetarian Recipes Using Butternut Squash ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Carbonara ~ Eats Well with Others
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Penne with Butternut Squash and Kale ~ Oh My Veggies
Slow Cooker Thai-Inspired Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup with Red Bell Pepper, Lime, and Cilantro - Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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22 comments:

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

A delicious pasta dish! I'm probably going to have to rely on the pre-cut squash. This was a bad year for butternut squash at the farm/CSA and we got nothing!

Kalyn Denny said...

TW, I remember that some years when I used to grow Really Big Squash I would hardly get any. But I think the pre-cut stuff is fine for this!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love the combination of mushrooms and goat cheese, and using the cheese as the sauce is a great idea.

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Lydia. I had some leftovers for lunch today and it was even good warmed over.

Joanne said...

We are posting such similar recipes today! I just love the pairing of butternut with goat cheese.

Kalyn Denny said...

Joanne, I always love your ideas, so I'm happy we are channeling each other!

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche said...

Kalyn this looks gorgeous! Basically all my favourite ingredients in one :) pinning!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Becca; I love all these ingredients too!

Unknown said...

This looks awesome! Can't wait to make it!! One thing, am I missing what to do with the extra 1/2 cup of pasta water? I don't see anywhere in the directions what I'm saving that water for?

Kalyn Denny said...

WEll duh! I only used half the water, added it with the goat cheese. Will edit that right now, and thanks. I had a big family party yesterday so things were definitely feeling hectic when I typed this up.

Cookin' Canuck said...

I am going to be craving this all day long. This looks fantastic, Kalyn!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Dara. I was so happy with how it turned out!

Barbara Bakes said...

Love a great one pot meal like this.

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Barbara; me too!

squid said...

question Kalyn Is butternut squash phase one?

Kalyn Denny said...

All higher-carb vegetables including butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes are phase two or three.

Henry Hoffman said...

I made this just now and it was fantastic, thank you :)

Kalyn Denny said...

Henry, so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to tell me.

keast said...

This recipe was amazing. My meat-loving husband really enjoyed it and even ate it as a leftover [the critical test]. However, we both thought that the addition of one or two links of cooked Italian turkey sausage crumbles would only make it better. I also reduced the pasta to 6oz since I prefer pasta to be a minor player rather than overwhelming the other ingredients. Thanks for another winning recipe.

Kalyn Denny said...

Keast, no judgements from me if you decide to add some sausage! So glad you enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

Do you have any suggestions on how to turn this into a casserole?

Kalyn Denny said...

No, I wouldn't be able to come up with that just off the top of my head.

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