Squash and Orzo

Source: Cooking Matters

Serving size: Serves 6, cup orzo and 1 piece of squash per serving

Servings per recipe: 6

Add winter squash to pasta for a kid-friendly favorite.

Ingredients

1 large winter squash (such as butternut or acorn)

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

3/4 cup orzo pasta

1 Tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch ground black pepper

Optional Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Materials

Aluminum foil, baking sheet, colander, cutting board, large pot, measuring cups, measuring spoons, medium bowl, sharp knife

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Rinse and cut squash in half. Remove seeds.

3. If using fresh rosemary, rinse and chop.

4. Drizzle 1 teaspoon maple syrup over the cut side of each squash half. Sprinkle each with red pepper flakes and cayenne. If using rosemary, add now.

5. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place squash halves on the baking sheet. Roast until squash is tender and pierces easily with a fork, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven. Keep squash loosely covered with foil.

6. Cook pasta following package directions. Drain in a colander. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat well.

7. Cut each squash half into thirds. Remove skin from squash. Serve one piece of squash over each portion of pasta.

8. If using grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkle over squash and orzo now.

Notes

Orzo and squash reheat well without losing flavor or quality. Cook the entire meal the night before. Refrigerate until ready to serve the next day. For faster cooking, heat squash halves in the microwave. Heat for 7 minutes on high, or until squash is tender and pierces easily with a fork. For a quicker pasta dish, peel squash and chop into bite-size pieces. Using the same ingredients as in step 4, roast squash for 25 minutes. Toss with cooked whole wheat pasta, olive or canola oil, and grated Parmesan cheese.

More About Acorn Squash

How to Select

Select acorn squash that are dull and heavy for their size. Avoid squash with soft spots or cracks.

How to Store

Store acorn squash in a cool, dry area away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. Acorn squash can stay fresh for up to 3 months.

How to Prepare

Puree roasted or steamed acorn squash and use it as a sauce over pasta or with meat. Mix thinly-sliced squash strips with whole wheat noodles. Thinly slice acorn squash, then add a little cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg and either steam or microwave. Make a delicious cream of acorn squash soup and then, for a festive presentation, bring it to the table served inside hollowed-out squash halves.