so i must share with you two delectable recipes that make for perfect autumn-time meals. even my husband, the veggie-phobic, gobbled them right up. unsurprisingly, they are both from giada :)
Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns
* 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
* 1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
* 1 cup vegetable stock
* 1 pound rigatoni
* 1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
* 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.
In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.
i would definitely recommend adding more salt and pepper than it calls for. otherwise, it is a bit bland. i also added some crushed red pepper flakes for a little extra zing. it is a quick and easy meal - the hardest part is cutting up the squash.
wondering the perfect dessert to follow it up with? may i recommend the pumpkin pie blizzard from dairy queen. mmmmmmm!! just don't get it to close to your dog, or he'll take a lick (baaaaad dog, magglio).
and for the second recipe of the day. unlike the last, this one is neither simple nor quick, but it is TOTALLY worth the labor. believe me.
Baked Angel Hair with Eggplant
* 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 to 6 Japanese eggplants (about 2 pounds total), cut into 1-inch cubes
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 pound mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
* 1/3 cup dry red wine
* 3 cups marinara sauce
* 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
* 8 ounces angel hair pasta
* 1 pound mozzarella, diced
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 1 (17 1/4-ounce) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
Heat 1/3 cup of oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the eggplant and toss to coat in the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute the eggplant until it is golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium. Add half of the garlic and saute until it is tender, about 2 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant mixture to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining 1/4 cup oil and the remaining eggplant and garlic.
Add the sausage and wine to the same frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the wine evaporates and the sausage is brown, breaking the sausage into pieces with the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage, marinara sauce, and crushed red pepper to the eggplant mixture, and toss to combine.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the angel hair and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until pasta is still slightly crunchy and undercooked. Drain. Toss the angel hair with the eggplant mixture. Cool completely. Add the mozzarella and Parmesan and toss to combine.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out 1 pastry sheet on a floured surface to a 13 1/2-inch square. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan, allowing the excess pastry to hang over the rim. Spoon the pasta mixture into the pan. Place the second pastry sheet atop the pasta filling. Pinch the edges of the pastry sheets together to seal. Trim the overhanging pastry edges to about 1-inch. Fold the pastry edges in to form a decorative border. Cut a slit in the center of the top pastry to allow the steam to escape.
Bake until the pastry is brown and puffed on top, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes. Remove the pan sides and serve.