As I may have mentioned before, I don’t stand a chance against chocolate. It takes every muscle in my body to resist the temptation and if I am successful in resisting, it’s usually only for a small fraction of time and then it’s over for me. So when I came home late on Sunday after watching the Grey Cup (on TV) with some friends, I had a weak moment in the kitchen. There on the counter-top was a piece of chocolate that I presumed my parents had picked up on their weekend away for my brother and I. It looked like some was missing so I assumed the remaining bit was for me. I figured it was Turkish delight and took it upon myself to put it’s half-eaten self out of it’s misery by popping the entire thing in my mouth. I then proceeded to chew and swallow, but suddenly I felt my entire throat and mouth on FIRE. I’m talking full on call-the-fire-department, “I AM ON FIRE”, kind of hot. I ran to the garbage, spat it out, and then turned the tap on full tilt with my face under the stream of water just gulping at it. But there was no relief. I spotted a pan of failed-attempt protein bars on the counter and began shoveling them into my mouth, heaping spoonful by spoonful. Finally the fire went out and I came to the realization that I had been maliciously deceived by my spice-loving, practical-jokester of a little brother. Oh if looks could kill! That little bugger had left out a chocolate covered chili pepper for me, knowing full well that I would pop that sucker in my mouth within seconds of sight. Needless to say, the next morning my family had quite a chuckle, albeit at my expense…
Now you would think after that experience, I’d have had enough to do with spice for awhile, but when I saw the this recipe in the Whole Foods Market Cookbook and pre-chopped squash in our fridge, I figured what the heck? So yes, this Roasted Butternut Squash Penne Pasta recipe includes a wee bit of chili flakes, but it is no comparison to the heat I experienced on Sunday night. It’s just the right amount of heat to add a kick to the dish without going overboard. If you do love spice though, feel free to add more flakes than called for but don’t come running to me when it’s too much to handle. I will also note that it’s recommended you buy pre-cut squash because that vegetable is a pain in the butt to chop. We purchased our squash at a market from a local farmer last weekend and boy was it good!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Penne Pasta Recipe
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 cups diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Either in a bowl or on a baking dish or cookie sheet, toss the squash, onion, garlic, chili flakes, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Spread squash evenly in the dish and place in oven for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. When done, the squash should be tender but not mushy.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and toss in pasta. Cook according to package instructions (10-12 minutes usually). Drain the pasta and toss back in the pot. Pour in squash mixture and toss to coat pasta. Add parsley, cheese and salt and pepper. Serve warm.
This recipe has been adapted from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook by Steve Petusevesky and the Whole Foods Market Team Members.