Squash’s Savory Side

img_4734The change of seasons can be measured by the moon, the landscape (trees turning color), and my furniture. When the sun comes later in the morning and sets earlier in the evening, I spend more time inside. And when I’m inside, I stare at the furniture. And think of ways my home could be more comfortable.

I could spend lazy Sundays reading the New York Times, which I do. But I’m also eyeballing the chair no one sits in, including me. And, instead of contemplating the debate between the two presidential candidates, I am thinking that the leather recliner needs to move to the basement. And I need to call the Erie City Mission to deal with the rest of the rejects that are in the basement.

What I really should be doing is working on a business plan to open a bakery or cafe, but instead I’m procrastinating. If, perhaps, I find the right flow in the house, then, perhaps, the business plan can just be channeled from the universe through my fingers and onto the computer. Failing that, I move furniture. And bake.

I’ve got a few pumpking/squash items yet still to test. I had the most divine pumpkin bread pudding with a maple ice cream in Maine that I am trying to replicate. That recipe will be coming once I finish tasting. But the cooler temps remind me that pumpkin isn’t just for sweets. It can take on savory flavors just as easily as sweet. One of my favorites is to serve chile over roasted sweet potatoes in their jackets or over a pile of roasted and mashed butternut, acorn or pumpkin squash.

The Italians pair pumpkin and sausage, or zucca e salsiccia, with pasta. The faint sweetness of the squash with the Italian sausage is perfectly complementary. It’s a fall favorite around our house. You can make it will canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie) or roast a pie pumpkin, acorn squash, or butternut squash. Or bake all three if you have them courtesy of your CSA, scoop, and stash in a container in the fridge. This way I have plenty of roasted squash on hand for any of my culinary needs because whether I’m baking one or three, it takes the same amount of time and cleanup (very little if you use a nonstick pan or foil).

Mangiamo!!

XOXOXO

Marnie

marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

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Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold the sauce and the pasta, heat olive oil and add sausage. Saute over medium to medium-high heat until it is browned.
  2. Remove sausage from pan, leaving enough oil in to saute the onion and the garlic. If there is too much grease, just drain until you have about 2 tablespoons again. Add the onion and cook until translucent, then add the garlic, cinnamon, and sage. Cook until fragrant.
  3. Return sausage to the pan of medium heat. Add the chicken stock and stir to get up any of the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. If the stock cooks down too quickly, add additional stock.
  4. Stir in pumpkin puree and cream. Stir until combined. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings for salt and pepper. This should sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. With about 2 to 3 minutes left of the pasta cooking time, add the kale to the pot with the boiling water and pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. Drain pasta.
  6. Return sauce pot to the stove over medium-low heat. Add pasta and stir to combine. If sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water.
  7. Serve in bowls. Pass cheese and pepper flakes. This will serve 4-6, depending on appetites.
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You say To-May-Toe, but my To-Mah-Toes are terrific

IMG_4413One of my guidelines for food, work, and life is finding ways not to be negative. If you focus on all that you cannot do, then the negative attitude will follow you around. So whenever I engage in a new venture – diet, relationship, job – I try to focus on what will be positive about it (and not what I can try to change). If the negatives outweigh the pluses, then it is time to take a pass or move on.

Engaging in the Whole30 meant I could focus on all the foods I couldn’t eat – and the list was quite extensive – or what I could. I chose to focus on what I could enjoy. With summer’s bounty ripening outside my doorstep and around Erie County, Pennsylvania, every day, I had plenty of choices. Plus, this supports my choice to eat local and support local farmers.

I’m not going to lie and insist a peach or slice of melon is as satisfying as a bowl of ice cream at the end of the day. But the peach or melon doesn’t carry the baggage of guilt and the accompanying bloating. And an RX chocolate bar isn’t the same as a homemade brownie, but it will do in a pinch. Plus, I’m notorious for cutting off all the edges and eating them – pretending that I really haven’t even had a “real” brownie.

Hah.

The goal, also, wasn’t to make one dinner for me and one for my daughter each night. I don’t think you can ever be successful making a lovely meal for some of the family and then serving yourself something that isn’t as pleasing. Some nights I may have had sausage and homemade tomato sauce with a side of roasted eggplant, while my daughter had the sausage and sauce over pasta.

My homemade roasted tomato sauce is doing many duties. It can become plain sauce, soup, or get jazzed up with add-ins, such as onions, capers, raisins and mint to make a divine sauce for fish or chicken. You can also freeze it and use it in the dead of winter.

Print Recipe
Roasted Tomato Sauce
This versatile sauce can be used alone or combined with other ingredients to make a more elaborate sauce or a simple soup.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half. Put into 2 9x13-inch baking dishes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and herbs.
  3. Bake for about 2 hours. Check after 1 hour to make sure they are OK and not cooking too quickly (if you see brown or black, that's your indication). Turn oven to 400 degrees after 2 hours and roast for about 20-30 minutes (check after 20). They should be slightly brown around the edges.
  4. Allow to cool. You have the choice of running them through a food mill, which will remove the skins and seeds. Or, put them in a high-speed blender (I use a Ninja) and puree until smooth.
  5. Add 1 cup chicken broth. Mix well.
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