I love this recipe. Warm pasta with fresh pesto and pine nuts, topped with a creamy butternut squash. The butternut squash melts into the shelled pasta, the basil has that tangy citrus infusion, and the pine nuts bring a real earthy dimension to the dish. Plus, adding in some steamed greens gives you a nutrition kick.
Sometimes whatever is left in your fridge can make the most amazing dishes. This week, I found myself really craving a bowl of pasta. I try not to eat it often, as we all know that pasta is high in calories. You would be better off eating whole food grains, like quinoa, brown rice and the like. This wasn't doing it for me though - I wanted shells, lots and lots of shells. Everyone has their own favourite kind of pasta, but for me, the shells are where it's at.
So anyway, I had some fresh pesto I'd made, but only had a few tablespoons left. I also had a butternut squash. It occurred to me that I was onto something here. So I cut up the squash, threw it into the pot with the pasta to boil, mixed it with the pesto, added some leftover steamed greens, topped with toasted pine nuts, and voila - this dish was born. I actually made enough for 2 helpings, but it was so good I couldn't contain myself. I scraped every bit of goodness from that bowl, and secretly wish I'd made more........
Butternut Squash with Basil Pesto Pasta
- 1/4 cup fresh pesto. I like this pesto recipe from Siba at Siba's Table, and this vegan pesto recipe with walnuts from the Simple Veganista
- 1 cup dried shell pasta of your choice - try to go for whole wheat, but I didn't have any for mine. You can also use your own favourite kind
- One handful of pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup of butternut squash, cut into small bite-sized cubes (about the same size as your pasta to ensure proper cooking)
- 1 cup of greens (I used swiss chard leaves), torn and steamed in a bit of water so they reduce
- Fresh basil and coriander (cilantro) to garnish
- Boil water and add pasta. After 3-4 minutes, add the butternut squash. Cook until pasta is al dente, and squash is soft. Drain and keep in pot.
- Add in the fresh basil, plus the steamed greens and stir to mix. Try to stir enough to break down some of the squash, so the result is a creamy mixture, with pieces of squash.
- Top with pine nuts and basil/cilantro garnish.