It has been almost 2 years since I picked up yoga. But it was only yesterday that I bought my first yoga mat.
You might think I have commitment issues, but I just didn't want to invest in anything that I might not stick with. So in the beginning, I used one of those foam camping pads (not recommended) and eventually just resorted to exercising on the carpet (also not recommended).
But now I realized, that I have developed somewhat calloused skin around my shoulders and elbows (and not even at the joint). Daily heavy moisturizing didn't seem to make a difference, so I finally caved and picked up a yoga mat. (It is blue and not pink, but only because the pink one had scuffed spots already.)
You know what that also means? Yes, I have been going strong with my daily cardio/strength routine in the morning and yoga session in the afternoon/evening. More about it in this post.
I think by now, everyone knows that exercise has to go hand in hand with nutrition. Plenty of vegetables are the way to go to fill up on nutrients. And you can be so creative with vegetables. After my cauliflower Alfredo sauce, today I bring you creamy butternut squash pasta.
This recipe is loosely inspired by this healthy mac and cheese from Lindsay, but the method and final dish are quite different.
Instead of using a bunch of different pots and pans and the blender, I wanted to make this meal in just one big skillet. (Yup, dishes are my nemesis these days.)
First, the sausage slices need to be browned and peppers softened; then set aside. (These are optional add-ins that you can change to your liking).
Next, we are going to caramelize the onion and garlic, while sauteeing the butternut squash for about 20 minutes. The squash has to be in fairly small cubes, so it can completely soften. This is key to making a creamy sauce out of it, without using a blender.
Then, we add the pasta, parsley and only enough water to be absorbed by the pasta. Cooking everything in one skillet with minimal water and frequent stirring will break up the squash and turn it into a creamy sauce.
When the pasta is al dente, stir the sausage and peppers back in, sprinkle with cheese and cover. This will reheat the add-ins and melt the cheese.
We are only using very little cheese, just to increase the creaminess. Once the cheese is melted, stir it in and serve right away.
When reheating leftovers, you might need to add a little water, as the sauce will quickly 'dry' out.
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Skillet
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces smoked sausage I use Farmer's style, sliced
- 1 bell pepper seeded and sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
- 2 cups ~12 ounces small diced butternut squash
- 4 cups boiling water
- 8 ounces linguine pasta any kind, whole wheat, gf, low GI
- 4 fresh parsley sprigs chopped
- salt + pepper
- ½ cup grated cheese
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Brown the sliced sausage on high while stirring occasionally. Add sliced bell pepper and stir fry for a few more minutes until softened. Remove sausage and pepper from skillet and set aside.
- Turn heat to medium-low and melt butter in the skillet. Add onion, garlic and butternut squash and cover. Slow cook until the onion is caramelized and squash has softened (about 20 minutes).
- Add hot water, pasta, and parsley to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil on high, then turn to medium heat and cook pasta uncovered, while stirring often to keep pasta from sticking together. This will also break down the squash to create a creamy sauce.
- Once pasta is done (about 10-12 minutes) turn off heat and stir sausage and peppers back into the skillet. Sprinkle with cheese and cover for a few minutes until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
- Stir to mix in the cheese and serve right away.
I tried this today with leftover squash and leftover barbequed chicken. Excellent! I am however, still fascinated with the thought of using spiralized squash noodles.
Hi Jean, I like the idea of butternut squash noodles instead of pasta. But I assume they really don't need much cooking, so should probably only be added at the very end.
Have you thought about making this with spiralized butternut squash. Not sure how that might work out in your creamy sauce, but would lower the carbs a lot.
This looks yummy but I have to question cooking the pasta as you do with cold water and directly in with the squash.
That works out ok for rice but for pasta, I would think it would get very mushy and very over starched.
According to the pasta experts (and most of all of the Old Italians I knew) there is only one way to make pasta properly - in a lot of water, at least 4 times the amount of pasta, with salt in the water, and no oil. If you want to cook it al dente, or perhaps slightly under cooked to add to a dish like this that you're going to continue cooking, then perhaps you could do that, drain it and THEN add it to the dish?
Hey, yes I usually cook pasta separately, too. I was intrigued with the idea of a one-pot pasta dish, though. I realize, this isn't authentically Italian by any means, but it's a great way to minimize dishes 😉
In this case the pasta's starch works great to create a creamy sauce together with the butternut squash.
I will check out your recipe links as well.